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Syria says U.S. oil firm has deal with its enemy Kurdish-led rebels to “steal” its oil

PortandTerminal.com, August 2, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed on Thursday that an American oil company now has a deal to modernize the oil industry in areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces

BEIRUT – Syria’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that an American oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at “stealing” Syria’s crude.

A ministry statement, published on state media, did not name the firm involved in the deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance that seized swathes of north and east Syria from Islamic State with U.S. help.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride atop of military vehicles
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride atop of military vehicles as they celebrate victory in Raqqa, Syria, October 17, 2017. 
REUTERS/Erik De Castro

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, was founded in 2015, nearly four years after an armed rebellion erupted against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Kurdish group is fighting for self-rule in northeast Syria as they say they have experienced discrimination historically.

Delta Crescent Energy LLC.

Several news sources though have identified the American company involved in the deal to be Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware.

A U.S. senator and Pompeo had referred to an oilfields deal between the SDF and a U.S. firm during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said during the committee hearing that SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi informed him that a deal had been signed with an American company to “modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria”, and asked Pompeo whether the administration was supportive of it.

“We are,” Pompeo responded during the hearing streamed live by PBS. “The deal took a little longer … than we had hoped, and now we’re in implementation.”

Angry reaction from Damascus to the deal

Damascus “condemns in the strongest terms the agreement signed between al-Qasd militia (SDF) and an American oil company to steal Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration”, the Syrian statement said. “This agreement is null and void and has no legal basis.”

Syria produced around 380,000 barrels of oil per day before civil war erupted following a crackdown on protests in 2011, with Iran and Russia backing President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the United States supporting the opposition.

Damascus lost control of most oil producing fields in a stretch east of the Euphrates River in Deir al-Zor. Western sanctions have also hit the energy industry.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that despite a military pullback from northeast Syria, a small number of American forces would remain “where they have oil”. The Pentagon said late last year that oilfield revenues would go to the SDF.

With content from Reuters

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