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article imageOp-Ed: US may keep some troops in Syria to secure oil and please Israel

By Ken Hanly     Oct 22, 2019 in Politics
According to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper some US troops are still embedded with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in sites near the oilfields in northeastern Syria. Esper says the US is thinking of keeping them there to defend the oil.
US still undecided
A recent Reuters article reports Esper's remarks: "Speaking to reporters during a trip to Afghanistan, Esper said that, while the U.S. withdrawal was under way, some troops were still with partner forces near oilfields and there had been discussions about keeping some of them there.He said that was one option and no decision had been made "with regard to numbers or anything like that". The Pentagon's job was to look at different options, he added."We presently have troops in a couple of cities that (are)located right near that area," Esper said. "The purpose is to deny access, specifically revenue to ISIS (Islamic State) and any other groups that may want to seek that revenue to enable their own malign activities.""
One wonders how genuine the concern is. There is little evidence of ISIS forces of any significance in the area. While ditching the SDF forces elsewhere the US appears to stay with them where there is oil. The US has made it clear that they do not want Syria to have access to its oil and has sanctions against others providing Syria with oil particularly Iran.
A report clearly outlines that the US does not want Syria to have access to its own oil: "The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump is considering a plan floated by top generals that would leave a remainder force behind in Syria with a dual-purpose mission: to prevent the resurgence of ISIS following Turkey's invasion in the region and to prevent Syrian government forces and their Russian allies from seizing control of oil production facilities in the region."
Trump says that Israel and Jordan asked for some US troops to remain
Trump in recent remarks during a cabinet meeting also mentions securing the oil fields and keeping a few others at the request of Israel and Jordan but removing them from other areas he considers dangerous: "I don't think it's going to be necessary. I don't want to leave any troops there. That's very dangerous territory. I don't think it's necessary other than we secure the oil. It's a little different section, but we need to secure the oil.The other region where we've been asked by Israel and Jordan to leave a small number of troops is a totally different section of Syria, near Jordan, and close to Israel...And that's a totally different section. That's a totally different mindset. So we have a small group there, and we secured the oil. Other than that, there's no reason for it, in our opinion."
While the oil is not important for US needs, the US sees it as important to keep the Syrian government from any access to its own oil. The Turks have been accused of using white phosphorus in their attacks on the Kurdish-controlled border area as evident in the appended video.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about US in Syria, syrian oil, US withdrawal from Syria
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