(Photo credit: USA Today)
On 20 September, the US army smuggled another batch of crude oil from Syria’s occupied regions to military bases in Iraq, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
A convoy of 60 fully-loaded oil trucks of U.S. military forces passed the eastern border from the energy-rich Jazira region in Syria’s northeastern governorate of Hasakah.
According to local sources, the looted oil was reportedly moved through the illegal al-Mahmoudiya and al-Walid border crossing into Iraq, where U.S. forces are stationed.
Units of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) escorted the convoys until they arrived at the border with Iraq.
Reports of the ongoing plundering of Syrian resources have increased in frequency. On 13 August, SANA reported that 89 tanker trucks filled with Syrian oil were smuggled out of the country via the illegal Mahmoudiya border crossing.
According to the Syrian oil ministry, US forces steal an average of 66,000 barrels of oil every day in the first half of 2022 or over 83 percent of the country’s daily output. In contrast, domestic oil refineries receive nearly 14,200 barrels a day.
The Syrian foreign ministry revealed the oil sector has incurred losses of at least $107.1 billion since the start of the US-sponsored war in 2011.
Former US President Donald Trump made no secret of the daily theft of Syrian resources.
“We’re keeping the oil [in Syria]. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil,” he said.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and US military personnel are currently occupying parts of the provinces of Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, and Raqqah, where the largest Syrian oil and gas fields are located.
The US maintains approximately 900 troops in Syria, primarily split between the Al-Tanf base and the country’s eastern oil fields, allegedly to protect Syria’s vast resources from falling under the control of ISIS.
Their deployment is illegal under international law, as it was implemented without the consent of Damascus or the UN.