The United States will deploy additional forces in Eastern Syria to protect oil fields in another policy change that a former senior US official has called "shocking ignorance" in history and geography. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by Kurdish seats to prevent the oil fields from falling into the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), said in a Pentagon statement.
No details were provided as to how much or what kind of forces would be sent or whether decisions were made on these details.
"US committed to consolidate its position, in coordination with our SDF partners, in northeast Syria with additional military assets to prevent these oil fields from falling back into the hands of ISIS or other destabilizing actors" , he added.
Earlier Thursday, US President Donald Trump said on social media that the US "will never launch a restored ISIS have these fields".
However, the latest announcement contradicts Trump's controversial decision earlier this month to withdraw forces from northeast Syria, paving the way for Turkey's military operation in the area.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Joshua Landis, an expert on the Middle East at the University of Oklahoma, said the message was "emblematic of the chaos that occurred in the process of American foreign policy."
"It's in free fall and the president is going back and forth," Landis said. "That doesn't really make much sense.
The new deployment could mean that US forces will be like "sitting ducks" located in an area where borders are guarded by Russian and Syrian troops, he added. [1
Brett McGurk, the top US official on Trump's campaign against ISIL until January, also criticized the latest change in social media posts.
“It seems that the President of the United States of America is calling for large-scale migration of Kurds to the desert where they can migrate to a small oil field. Shocking ignorance of history, geography, law, American values, human decency and honor. "
Trump justified his earlier decision to withdraw US forces from Syria, saying he was seeking to bring back about 1,000 troops home and terminate US involvement there.
Trump said earlier A "small" number of US troops will remain in Syria to secure oil fields A US official told the Washington Post earlier this week that the proposal calls for 200 US troops to remain in the area.
News by Newsweek and Fox television said the new deployment could is to include dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers.
Turkey's attack on northeastern Syria and the United States Kurdish forces was stopped after a US armistice was concluded.
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Kurdish forces seize control of small oil fields in northeastern Hasake province after Syrian governments in Ski withdrew from most regions of Kurdish majority in 2012 to fight insurgents elsewhere.
After dropping ISIS from southeast Syria in 2018, the Kurds seized control of the more profitable oil fields in Deir Az Zor province.
There is a silent agreement between the Kurds and the Syrian government, with Damascus buying the surplus through intermediaries in a lucrative smuggling operation that continues despite political differences. The Kurdish administration sells crude oil to private refineries that use primitive domestic refineries to process fuel and diesel and sell it back to the administration.
SDF is currently selling oil in Syria for about $ 30 a barrel.
Oil was expected to be a viable chip for the Kurds to negotiate an agreement with the Syrian government, which unsuccessfully tries to reach the oil fields to recover them from ISIL. Trump says he plans to maintain oil security forces, and it looks like oil will continue to be used – with Moscow and Damascus.
McGurk said on Monday: "Like it or not, oil is owned by the Syrian state. There may be new attorneys, but it was simply illegal for an American company to go and seize and exploit those assets."
Before the war Syria was producing around 350,000 barrels a day, exporting more than half of them. Most of this oil comes from eastern Syria. Foreign companies, including Total, Shell and Conoco, all left Syria after the war began more than eight years ago.
U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham said after meeting Trump on Thursday that he called on him to remain engaged in Syria.  "If you can find a way to secure the oil fields from Iran and ISIS, it is in the interest of our national security," Graham said.