09:30 GMT24 September 2020
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    The oil deal between an American company and the Kurdish militia was announced by US Senator Lindsay Graham on 2 August and then rejected by the Syrian Foreign Ministry as "null and void".

    Syria's Ambassador to UN Bashar al-Jaafari has accused US President Donald Trump of stealing the Arab country’s oil, referring to a recent deal signed between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and an American company.

    The agreement, which was reportedly inked by Delta Crescent Energy LLC, stipulates modernising the oil wells in areas controlled by the US-backed SDF in northeastern Syria.

    Mission representative Bashar al-Jaafari told the UN Security Council earlier this week that "the US occupation forces, in full view of the United Nations and the international community, took a new step to plunder Syria's natural resources, including Syrian oil and gas" by establishing the company Crescent Delta Energy.

    Al-Jaafari said that the firm, "with the sponsorship and support of the US administration, has entered into a contract with the so-called SDF militia, an agent of the US occupation forces in northeastern Syria, with the aim of stealing Syrian oil and depriving the Syrian state and Syrian people of the basic revenues necessary to improve the humanitarian situation, provide for livelihood needs, and reconstruction".

    The statement was made a few weeks after the Syrian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the US-SDF oil deal which was first announced by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham on 2 August and rejected by the ministry as "null and void".

    "This agreement is considered an integrated and aggravated theft and can only be described as a deal between thieves who are stealing and thieves who are buying, constituting an assault against Syria's sovereignty", the ministry said in a statement on 2 August.

    The same tone was struck by Tehran which stressed that "the signing of an oil deal between the United States and a group of Syrian Kurds runs counter to international regulations and violates Syria's sovereignty and integrity".

    Turkey also lashed out at the deal, calling it equivalent to funding terrorism, as the country deems the Kurdish militia, including the SDF, as terrorist organisations.

    In October 2019, President Donald Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing its forces from Syria, but eventually backtracked. He stated that a "small" American contingent would stay behind to "keep the oil", also claiming that the revenues from the crude would go to fund the Kurdish SDF and their militia.

    Damascus, in turn, has repeatedly critisised the presence of US forces in Syria as illegal, pointing to the fact that the American troops didn't receive a mandate either from the Syrian government or the UN.

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    Tags:
    gas, oil, deal, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Donald Trump, United States, Syria
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