President Joe Biden may not brag like his predecessor about “taking the oil” in northeastern Syria but he’s quietly continued Washington’s policy of smuggling black gold out of the country. On top of that, Syrian media have reported an increase in incidents of US involvement in the illegal export of foodstuffs out of the food-insecure nation.
Fourteen trucks loaded with wheat from two silos in the Hasakah countryside have been illegally smuggled out of Syria into Iraq using the al-Waleed border crossing point, the Syrian Arab News Agency has reported, citing local sources.
The latest incident follows reports from last week about 12 vehicles carrying wheat being driven to Iraq using the Semalka border crossing, and another episode on 28 March in which some 38 trucks loaded with wheat were sent to Iraq via the al-Walid crossing point. Eighteen more truckloads of grains were reportedly smuggled out via Semalka the same week.
Local media have reported a major uptick in the smuggling of foodstuffs since January, with the Biden administration appearing to have switched from previously-reported on tactic of setting food crops on fire to prevent them from being harvested.
The growing pressure on the country’s food supplies comes as the US and its Kurdish allies continue to occupy as much as 90 percent of Syria’s oil-producing regions. Syria was never a major oil power before 2011, but the supplies it had were…