Along with the illegal export of Syrian oil, US forces were said to have brought six military vehicles carrying 50 troops from Iraq into Syria, with the forces beefing up the US presence at the makeshift Kharab al-Jeer airport in Northeastern Hasaka.
In related news, residents of the village of Tal Sateeh took to the streets in the Qamishli countryside on Thursday, carrying national flags, portraits of Syria’s president, and signs demanding that both Turkish and “Zionist US occupation” forces withdraw from the region immediately, and stop plundering their land, oil and wheat resources.
Protests by local residents escalated a month ago after a Syrian Army soldier was killed at a checkpoint near Tal Al-Zahab village.
The US has been strengthening its presence in Syria in recent weeks, despite promises by President Trump to withdraw from the war-torn country late last year.
Last week, US officials and Syrian media reported the delivery of additional troops and vehicles into the country from neighbouring Iraq.
Last year, Russian military intelligence released a report on US oil-smuggling activities in Syria, revealing that the Pentagon, the CIA, private military contractors and Kurdish militias were engaged in the illegal shipment of more than $30 million-worth of Syrian oil out of the war-torn country each month.
Before the start of its foreign-backed conflict in 2011, Syria produced about 400,000 barrels of oil per day, enough to provide the country with energy self-sufficiency and up to 20 percent of the state’s revenues. Production dropped dramatically during the war. Syria and its allies see the return of the nation’s energy resources as a crucial requirement for rebuilding the country from the estimated $200-$400 billion in damage caused during the conflict.
However, President Trump has repeatedly pledged to “take” and “keep” Syria’s oil and to prevent it from falling into the hands either of terrorists or the Syrian government.