22:21 GMT20 September 2020
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    In January, President Donald Trump backtracked on his previous pledge to withdraw US forces from Syria, stating that a "small" American contingent would stay in the Arab Republic to "keep the oil".

    Newsweek has cited an unnamed senior US intelligence official as describing Washington’s current strategy in Syria as a “clusterf**k” in light of the forthcoming presidential election.

    As the clock is ticking for the 3 November election, “both candidates vow to end the ‘endless wars’ waged by their predecessors”, Newsweek reports, referring to Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump.

    The intelligence official, in turn, claimed that the US “doesn’t have a strategy [on Syria]” as the Pentagon continues to keep an American military mission in the Arab country in order “to ensure an enduring defeat" of Daesh*, according to one of the latest press releases by the US Department of Defence.

    In October 2019, President Donald Trump, for his part, announced that the US would be withdrawing its forces from Syria, but eventually backtracked, stating that a "small" American contingent would stay behind to "keep the oil" in the Middle Eastern country’s northeast.

    A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter talks on the radio at a check point near Omar oil field base, eastern Syria
    © AP Photo / Felipe Dana
    A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter talks on the radio at a check point near Omar oil field base, eastern Syria

    Newsweek also cited Pentagon spokesperson Jessica McNulty as saying that the US-led coalition does not coordinate or share intelligence with Russia in Syria.

    "From time-to-time we are incidentally apprised of planned Russian strikes on ISIS [Daesh] targets west of the Euphrates River, as part of our routine de-confliction communications”, she pointed out.

    The remarks came after Russia’s Defence Ministry stated in late August that Russian servicemen had done their best to avoid a collision with American forces deployed in Syria, in line with agreements designed to avoid confrontations between the two countries' forces in the Arab Republic.

    The statement followed the US National Security Council accusing Russian soldiers of being behind a collision with an American military vehicle in Syria, despite numerous videos from the scene showing Russian troops making several attempts to part ways with their US counterparts in a safe manner.

    Syria's UN Envoy Accuses Trump of Stealing Country’s Oil

    In a separate development last month, Syria's Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari accused US President Trump of stealing the Arab Republic’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, envisages modernising the oil wells in areas controlled by the US-backed SDF in north-eastern Syria.

    Al-Jaafari told the UN Security Council 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.

    In late October 2019, the Russian military released a detailed report on US oil-smuggling activities in Syria, proven by satellite intelligence data.

    According to the document, the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and private military contractors had agreed to engage in oil smuggling operations with the Kurds and US-controlled oil companies, resulting in profits of over $30 million per month.

    While Russia remains “the only country which has troops in Syria on a legal basis and at the request of the legitimate Syrian government”, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recalled in March, the US forces are deployed in the Arab Republic without a UN mandate and Damascus’ go-ahead.

    *Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State), a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.


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