A convoy of US vehicles seen after the withdrawal from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq, 21 October, 2019. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Ari Jalal)
US occupation forces in Syria led a convoy of 40 trucks, each filled up with stolen Syrian wheat, into Iraq from Syria, according to an 18 June report from Syrian state news agency SANA.
The report indicates that the US military, along with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), looted large quantities of wheat from the Al-Jazeera region and transported it towards the Al-Waleed border crossing, where it entered Iraq on 18 June.
The report noted that this was not the only convoy filled with stolen goods led by the US military. Another convoy with 36 vehicles, filled with stolen Syrian wheat, crossed Al-Waleed border from the Tal Hamis area.
The US recently deployed military and logistical equipment in nearby Hasakah, Syria.
Damascus considers US presence in northeastern Syria a means of stealing Syrian resources.
US troops also use the Al-Waleed crossing to transfer stolen oil derivatives into Iraq. On 14 May, a US military convoy of 70 oil tankers filled with smuggled fuel crossed the border into Iraq.
A day earlier, 46 US vehicles were reportedly transferred out of Syria through the same border crossing.
US troops and the SDF are in control of most of the oil fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor and have been regularly smuggling Syrian oil out of the country to sell it abroad.
Dozens of similar US convoys have been reported over the last year and a half. On 18 December 2021, nearly one hundred oil tankers were smuggled into northern Iraq through the same illegal crossing.
On 10 January, Syrian media reported that the US occupation and one of its various armed groups set up a refinery to process stolen oil in the town of Rmelan in Hasakah governorate.
The US military routinely smuggles Syrian oil into northern Iraq, in a move that is both in violation of international law and as routine practice that shows how deeply entrenched the US is in its occupation of both nations.
The theft of Syrian food and fuel supplies is taking place amid a global food and fuel crisis.
Countries like Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen are already dealing with severe economic and food crises.
Once a major wheat producer, Syria is now facing food shortages. The western-backed war on Syria as well as a recent drought has made Syria more dependent on Russian wheat.
In a 15 March investigation by The Cradle, analyst Léa Azzi highlighted the current situation facing the Levantine nation.
“The Syrian Republic is by no means the only country in West Asia whose food security and living standards are under threat by the implications of Russia’s war with Ukraine. These states will also be inflicted with the burden of rising oil and gas prices which directly increase the cost of shipping, manufacturing, and general prices of goods and services. These in turn will add further strain to families faced with reduced purchasing power.”
“Syria was the only Arab state which was self-reliant in wheat production, and once had the most productive agricultural system in all of West Asia,” Azzi noted.
Just weeks after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, Kiev banned the exports of rye, barley, buckwheat, millet, sugar, salt and meat until the end of the year.
Western sanctions imposed on Moscow have led to major disruptions in the supply chain, and most countries now face harsh penalties if they continue to do business with Russia, the world’s largest supplier of wheat and major producer of fertilizers.