US forces stationed in Syria have started building a new military base in the oil-rich north-eastern province of Al-Hasakah near the town of Tell Brak, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported, citing anonymous sources. Its rapid construction reportedly started on 3 February with equipment and materials arriving from Iraq via the al-Waleed border crossing.
The news agency's sources claim that the base has been erected in order to prevent Russian forces, deployed in the Arab Republic at the behest of the government, from reaching the Rmelan oil field. The agency also claims that American troops have blocked several alleged Russian military attempts to reach the oil field.
The town of Tell Brak lies between two enclaves controlled by the Syrian armed forces, in Al-Hasakah and Quamishli provinces, which are surrounded by the mostly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, supported by the US. The latter had deployed its troops to the Arab Republic without the consent of the government or the UN Security Council mandate.
Washington announced the withdrawal of its troops from Syria on two occasions, but never fulfilled them in full. Last time in October US President Donald Trump justified the continuing stay of American troops in the country by saying that they are needed to "keep the [Syrian] oil" and protect oil fields from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Damascus and Moscow slammed the US intentions, accusing it of stealing Syrian resources and calling its actions illegal from the perspective of international law. Russia argued that rightful owner, the Syrian government, must exercise control over the Syrian oil wells.