“We’ve taken control of the oil in the Middle East,” President Trump claimed on Friday afternoon, in response to criticism over his handling of US troop movements out of Syria.
“We’ve taken control of the oil in the Middle East, the oil that we’re talking about, the oil that everybody was worried about. We have the U.S. control of that,” Trump said, adding that America’s actions in Syria should have been made years ago under the Obama administration.
The words echoed Trump’s earlier tweet, with similar oil-based claims. “The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey,” Trump’s tweet read in part.
The President did not elaborate on what he meant by “securing the oil,” but speculations about the President’s statement assume he is referring to US special forces that have been—and will continue to be—in control of oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzor.
The Syrian state has long argued that the oil and gas assets should be returned to it.
Trump added that the Kurds are very happy with the deal the US has secured. If President Trump adheres strictly and completely with his promise to exit Syria, the question remains exactly how the US will continue securing this oil.
Most of Syria’s oil has been controlled by the US-backed SDF. Pre-war, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil per day, 140,000 barrels per day which were exported.
Washington has so far juggled the presence of Turkey, Iran, Russia, and ISIS in the area, but now that ISIS has been weakened in the area, Washington has claimed its presence in Syria is no longer necessary.
In recent developments, Turkey has agreed to stop its assault in Syria, in exchange for the Kurdish forces leaving the safe zone in the country’s northeast and the US agreeing to remove a round of recently imposed sanctions after an official ceasefire was agreed.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com