Trump's 'Take the Oil' Strategy in Syria Is Not What You Think

Sebastien Roblin

On October 6, around fifty U.S. commandos in northeastern Syria tasked with hunting down ISIS forces were withdrawn from territory near the Turkish border controlled by the Kurdish-Arab SDF faction.

The U.S. withdrawal was a prequisite for a Turkish attack against the Kurdish positions which subsequently took place in a matter of hours. The remaining hundreds of U.S. forces elsewhere in northeastern Syria were endangered in the crossfire and had to be withdrawn a few days later.

The withdrawal was post-hoc justified on the basis that they were no longer needed in the Middle East and it was time to “bring the troops home.”

But the weeks since, the United States has deployed over 3,500 more troops to the Middle East—including hundreds more troops in another region of Syria dispatched at the end of October.

This first of a two-part series will look at the recent deployment of hundreds of armored infantry to a notoriously blood-soaked battleground in northeastern Syria.

A companion article looks at the thousands of U.S. troops in air defense and Air Force units dispatched to support Saudi Arabia in its ongoing confrontation with Iran.

Guardians of Syrian Oil Fields

In reality, many of the operators withdrawn from northeastern Syria were redeployed to a remote U.S. base called al-Tanf in southern Syria, to the east of Damascus.

Then on October 25, the White House indicated it planned to send “tanks” to reinforce U.S. special operations forces stationed at Deir-es-Zor in southeastern Syria, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

The special operations contingent deployed in the region around Deir-es-Zor in 2018 included a platoon of Marines, Green Berets, around 30 Army Rangers and Delta Force operators, Air Force air controllers, Marine HIMARS rocket artillery, and mine-resistant M-ATV 4x4 vehicles. Reportedly, 200 remain stationed there today.

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