DThe Russian Ministry of Defense has accused the US troops of massive theft of large amounts of oil from Syria. The oil is being pumped, bottled and shipped out of the country, said Major General Igor Konashekov on Saturday, according to a statement released in Moscow by the Ministry of Defense.
The agency published satellite photos proving smuggling of Syrian state property. Russia has long been calling for the complete withdrawal of American troops from Syria.
The Ministry of Defense in Moscow officially opposed the presentation of Washington, according to which the US troops would protect the oil wells from Islamist terrorists or "other destabilizing actors". The Pentagon had announced it would send additional troops to protect the oil fields in eastern Syria. According to American media reports, Washington also counts the Syrian government among the "destabilizing actors".
Minister spokesman Konaschenko accused the United States of "state banditry". The oil wells would be occupied by force of arms. It is not compatible with American law or international standards to withhold the resources of the Syrian people.
The images of the Russian space reconnaissance would prove how the oil under auspicious surveillance of American soldiers in road tankers will be taken abroad. In addition, private military companies are in use. The General also pointed out that oil production bypassed the sanctions imposed by the United States on Syria itself.
According to calculations of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the US structures with the illegal trade make a profit of about 30 million US dollars each month. Konaschenko said that the Pentagon will probably exploit the fields forever in such a profitable business without taxes and in the absence of state control.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the additional military forces in the oil fields in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Essor should prevent the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia from regaining access to oil revenues. However, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow warned that none of the oil wells belonged to "the terrorists of the Islamic State and even less the American defenders of the terrorists of the Islamic State", but only the Syrian Arab Republic ".
The IS militia had taken control of the oil fields in the province of Deir Essor in 2014 and earned a lot of money from the oil. The al-Omar oil field near the border with Iraq alone gave the extremist group up to 4.5 million euros a month, according to American sources. However, al-Omar, like other jihadist-controlled production facilities, was soon destroyed by air strikes by the US-led anti-IS alliance.
Not only is the IS militia interested in oil
With support from the US armed forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) conquered Al-Omar and other oil fields in eastern Syria in October 2017. The Kurdish-Arab Alliance also controls several smaller oil and gas fields in northeastern Syria. Part of the oil from these sources was sold by the administration of the Kurdish autonomous region to Iraq and the Syrian government to finance its employees and soldiers.
According to media reports, in February 2018, hundreds of Russian mercenaries and Syrian militiamen were killed in an attempt to capture American-controlled Conoco oil field. Russia never officially commented on the incident, but the mercenary troopers Wagner are said to have acted on behalf of the state-owned Syrian oil company. The US Air Force struck the attack back in the province of Deir Essor.
The incident shows how much sought after and contested the oil fields are in eastern Syria. The government of the ruler Bashar al-Assad has been suffering for years from energy supply shortages. It has been subject to an international oil embargo since the beginning of the civil war. Since the beginning of the year hardly any Iranian oil deliveries reach Syria. Not only the IS militia would therefore have an interest in conquering the oil fields in Deir Essor.