Chinese state media is reporting based on Syrian war monitors that the Pentagon has expanded its presence inside Syria by establishing a new hub of operations in the northeastern province of Hasakah this past weekend.
“The new military base was set up in the village of Naqara, 3 km southwest of the city of Qamishli in Hasakah province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” – as cited in Xinhua.
The biggest, and main US base in Hasakeh province remains at Syria’s al-Omar oil fields, which is a legacy of the Trump administration’s “secure the oil” policy. While President Joe Biden has rejected this overt rhetoric focused taking energy resources, the past month witnessed multiple alleged instances of coalition forces ferrying oil across the Iraq border in tanker trucks.
As we detailed earlier of an August statement from Syria’s oil ministry:
“US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.
According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses nearing “about 105 billion dollars since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.
Presumably the establishment of a third main base inside oil and gas rich Hasakah province is toward furthering efforts at denying Damascus its own energy resources. The Syrian and Russian governments have for years condemned Washington for its ongoing occupation of a sovereign country. China too, has quietly backed Damascus, also given the presence of Chinese foreign fighters – Islamic Uyghur extremists in particular – which are reportedly present in Idlib.
Another major American base, but which is not in Hasakah, is at al-Tanf. US special forces at the base are there ostensibly in support of Arab and Kurdish anti-Assad fighters. The base’s location is strategic, given it is near the three-way border between Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. Despite the Pentagon for years touting its “counter-ISIS” mission in Syria, the main US target has clearly remained both the Assad government and its Iranian allies. Far-reaching US sanctions have decimated the Syrian economy, impacting the broader population hardest amid runaway inflation.
In August, China’s foreign ministry denounced the “appalling” US actions of “plundering” Syrian resources…
The US should stop stealing oil & grain from Syria. pic.twitter.com/IuZI7MrXjc
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) August 30, 2022
A mere two weeks ago the White House ordered two rounds of airstrikes in Syria against what’s been described as “Iranian” and “Iran-backed” groups, in response to US outposts in Syria coming under sporadic rocket attacks from unknown militants.