The United States may leave 500 troops in northeastern Syria and send in battle tanks and other equipment, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing military officials who presented the option to President Donald Trump.
The purpose of this move would be to help the Kurds in the area to protect oil fields that used to be controlled by Islamic State during its so-called caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
Trump himself said he would want to prevent these fields from falling back into the hands of Islamic State in a tweet.
“The Oil Fields discussed in my speech on Turkey/Kurds yesterday were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” Trump wrote on Thursday.
The Oil Fields discussed in my speech on Turkey/Kurds yesterday were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2019
At the moment, the fields are controlled by the Kurds, whose Syrian Democratic Forces militias—an opposition group—the U.S. backed in the Syrian civil war. Now, however, the situation has changed. After Turkey launched an offensive against the Kurds as soon as Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war-torn country, they struck a protection deal with the Assad government, which appeared to be the only force in the vicinity able to stop the Turkish push. Related: How Much Oil Is Up For Grabs In Syria?
This has made for a complicated situation. The commander of the SF blamed the U.S. withdrawal for forcing the militias to strike a deal with Assad. “If we have to choose between compromise and genocide, we will choose our people,” Mazloum Abdi wrote for Foreign Policy. “The Russian and Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection.”
As a result of this change of affiliations, now the Kurds may not be too happy about U.S. troops staying in Syria.
This latest move from the Trump administration comes on the back of multiple tweets about Syria, one of which included a claim to have ‘taken control’ of the oil in the Middle East.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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