Pentagon promises to give Syrian oil revenue to Kurds

Washington: The Pentagon has said revenue from oilfields protected by US forces in northeastern Syria will go to its Kurdish allies.

"The revenue from this is not going to the US, this is going to the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces)," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

During a news conference announcing the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a US raid last month, President Donald Trump raised the possibility of American oil companies taking over the oilfields in northeastern Syria, currently operated by the SDF.

Amid concerns that Islamic State could stage a resurgence in the ensuing power vacuum, Trump said a small number of US troops would remain in the area of Syria "where they have the oil," a reference to oilfields in the Kurdish-controlled region.

Kurdish forces were left to defend themselves against Turkey when the US withdrew troops from the border.Credit:Kate Geraghty

However, the total number of US forces is expected to number in the hundreds and potentially only slightly less than the roughly 1000 that were in northern Syria when Trump made his surprise withdrawal announcement last month.

Turkish miliary and militias backed by Turkey moved into northern Syria after the US withdrawal in an attempt to establish a so-called "safe zone" along the Turkey-Syria border. Turkey views the Kurdish forces in Syria as terrorists and plans to resettle millions of refugees on the Syrian side of the border in previously Kurdish-held territory.

The conflict has slowed since an agreement was struck between the Syrian government, Turkey and Russia, which also has a military presence in Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday the United States was not fulfilling its pledge to remove a Kurdish militia from a Syrian border region and said he will raise the issue when he meets Trump next week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US is not fulfilling their part of the bargain.Credit:AP

During the briefing, Hoffman said he was not aware of SDF fighters in the area, but said the United States did not have complete visibility.

Hoffman added that the United States expects Turkey to hold to account any Ankara-backed forces who allegedly commit war crimes in northeastern Syria.

In the same briefing, the Pentagon said the ceasefire in northeastern Syria was generally holding.


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