The United States continues to strengthen its bases in north-eastern Syria, moving additional armored vehicles and military supplies from northern Iraq. New convoys of heavy equipment and covered trucks are arriving in areas controlled by the alliance’s militants, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS, which is led by Kurdish “Self-Defense Units”, which Ankara officials consider a “terrorist organization”) in the eastern Arab Republic, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported today, September 25.
According to local Anadolu agency sources, a military convoy of 79 trucks crossed the Iraqi-Syrian border the day before at the Al-Walid checkpoint. It included 12 tracks, as well as petrol trucks. The military cargo was distributed among military bases in the provinces of Hasakah, Raqqa, and Deir Ez-Zor.
U.S. cargo shipments from Iraq to Syria had not been delivered for two months and resumed in early September. Five military convoys of at least 300 trucks have been sent to Syrian territory in the past two weeks.
After Turkey launched Operation Source of Peace in Syria east of the Euphrates River (October 2019), the U.S. regrouped its forces in the region. The Pentagon has placed its bets on “control” of oil fields in eastern Syria. To date, the U.S. military is deployed at 11 military bases and strongholds in the provinces of Hasakah, Raqqa, and Deir Ez Zor, Anadolu notes.
Earlier this month, Turkish media reported that a Russian group of troops in Syria was deploying additional forces to the northeast region of the country. It was pointed out that Russia was building up a military presence in northeastern Syria, near the town of Kamyshly, which is considered the unofficial capital of Syrian Kurdistan, – 30 units of Russian military equipment were transferred to Kamyshly from the district of Tabka (Raqqa province). The armored vehicles and trucks carrying the troops were stationed at the airport, southwest of the Syrian city. According to Anadolu sources in Syria, up to 75 Russian soldiers have been transferred to Kamyshly as part of the convoy.
Following the Turkish operation “Source of Peace” in the autumn of 2019, Russia began to expand the military base at Kamyshly airport. Until the last strengthening in this area of the province of Hasake were at least 200 Russian military, dozens of armored vehicles, and tanks, as well as six military helicopters. According to several sources, Russia plans to increase pressure on the United States, whose military controls oil fields in the Rumailan area east of Kamyshly. The Russian troops have tried many times before to take control of the Rumailan oil fields, but each time they came across a U.S. retaliation, Anadolu said.
Earlier, the U.S. had begun forming a special unit in Syria to protect oil fields east of the Euphrates River. According to local sources, ethnic Arabs from among the militants of the “Syrian Democratic Forces”, whose backbone is formed by Kurdish “Popular Self-Defense Units”, were involved in the special unit. The task of the “special unit” is to counter the likely attacks by pro-Iranian fighters deployed in Deir Ez-Zor province supporting the government forces of Bashar al-Assad.
Donald Trump first commanded the withdrawal of all American troops from Syria in December 2018. But then he decided to leave a “limited contingent” of 400 U.S. troops and officers in the Arab Republic (at the end of 2018, there were about 2,200 U.S. troops in the SAR). In early October last year, Trump again ordered the full withdrawal of troops from northeastern Syria (about 1,000 U.S. troops) before Turkey launched Operation Source of Peace against the Kurds in that part of the Arab Republic. However, then the White House and the Pentagon have outplayed previous plans, saying that now they are ready to leave in the east of Syria to protect its oil fields from the fighters of the terrorist group DAISH (“Islamic State”, IG, IGIL – banned in Russia) from 500 to 600 U.S. military.
On October 21, U.S. Defense Minister Mark Esper reported that the Trump administration may leave a part of the U.S. military in the area of oil fields in the east of Syria where units of UDS are located. This is necessary to prevent oil from getting into the hands of IG fighters, the Pentagon chief explained then.
By all indications, the feverish search for optimal military presence in Syria by Trump’s administration and American generals continues in quantitative terms and according to new targets in the form of “protection of Syrian oil”. The current owner of the White House is still of the opinion that the Americans do not need the war in Syria and should leave it, preferably within a short period of time. In this regard, Trump’s words that “let someone else fight for the blood-soaked sands of Syria” are indicative. At the same time, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces insist that anybody at the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Army will have to leave. By all indications, the feverish search for optimal military presence in Syria by the Trump administration and the U.S. generals continues in quantitative terms and according to new targets in the form of “protection of Syrian oil. The current owner of the White House is still of the opinion that the Americans do not need the war in Syria and should leave it, preferably within a short time. In this regard, Trump’s words that “let someone else fight for the blood-soaked sands of Syria” are indicative. At the same time, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces insist that any withdrawal from Syria should not turn into a “loss of face” for Washington. It is impossible to leave the Kurdish “Self-Defense Units”, the main and actually the only ally of the Americans “on the ground” in eastern Syria. All the more so in the conditions when Turkey considers them “terrorist organization” and has already clearly demonstrated how it is going to solve the “Kurdish question” in Syria by the example of its operation “Source of Peace”.