On 22 August, Syrian troops at an army checkpoint stopped a US military patrol in Hasakah governorate, ordering it to turn back.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said a convoy consisting of six US military armored vehicles was prevented from entering Al-Salihiya, south of Qamishli in northern rural Hasakah.
Several technical vehicles from the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accompanied the US convoy and were also forced to turn tail.
The drive-out move conducted while US choppers were escorting the military convoy, SANA said.
Al-Salihiya is a small village located nearly 23 kilometers to the south of Syria’s Qamishli city, in the northern countryside of Hasakah governorate.
Damascus sees the presence of US forces in Syria as illegal under international law, accusing Washington of looting its natural resources, including gas, oil, and wheat.
For their part, the Pentagon claims that the presence of US troops in Syria is aimed at preventing ISIS from taking control over the country’s oil fields.
Former US president Donald Trump said in October of 2019 that US troops would remain in Syria to secure “massive” oil reserves and even put up “a hell of a fight” against any force that tried to take them.
“We’re keeping the oil,” Trump said to a conference of police chiefs in Chicago. “I’ve always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.”
In late July, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin called on the US to stop siphoning oil and grain out of Syria and make up for the damage caused by its military presence on Syrian soil.
Beijing’s comments came on the heels of similar damning statements by the Russian president.
The US has at least a dozen military bases in Syria, mostly in the oil and gas fields in Hasakah, while it maintains a base in Al-Tanf along the country’s southern border to undermine the territorial influence of Damascus with Baghdad.