On Thursday, following repeated statements by President Trump about the importance of “securing the oil” in Syria, President Bashar Assad characterised Trump as “the best American president” in recent memory over his “transparent” admission that US policy in Syria is based on the goal of stealing the country’s natural resources.
Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has confirmed that the US plans to continue controlling Syria’s oil fields, and to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists or “other actors.”
“The mission is, as I’ve spoken to and I’ve conveyed it to the commander, and that is, we will secure oil fields to deny their access to ISIS* and other actors in the region, and to ensure that the [Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces] has continued access, because those resources are – are important, and so that the SDF –can do its mission, what it needs to do in the region,” Esper said, speaking to reporters on Thursday after meeting with Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds.
His remarks were published in a transcript on the DoD’s website.
Asked to comment on what President Trump meant with his repeated statements about the need to ‘take’ and ‘keep’ Syria’s oil, Esper said that he “interpreted” the president’s sentiment as a need “to deny ISIS access to the oil fields; secure them so that they are denied access to the oil fields.”