US forces continue blatant looting of Syrian oil, ‘exposing gangster nature’
Published: Sep 06, 2022 10:17 PM
US troops' looting spree of Syrian oil Graaphic:Xu Zihe/GT

US troops' looting spree of Syrian oil Graaphic:Xu Zihe/GT

The US continues to make things worse in the conflict-torn and poverty-stricken Syria due to its blatant plundering of Syrian mineral resources, especially oil. As the US' stealing has led to losses to the Syrian government of up to $107.1 billion, experts said this behavior exposes the US' gangster nature.

According to Syrian state media the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), US forces on Monday sent another 31 vehicles including oil tankers filled with stolen Syrian oil from US bases in northeast Syria's Hasakah province to its military base in northern Iraq, following the looting of Syrian oil with 64 US oil tankers illegally transporting oil to Iraq a day earlier.

The Syrian government has slammed the US' brazen robbery behavior for quite a time alleging the US has sent oil tankers at least eight times to transport stolen Syrian oil in August. Syria claims the US' thefts of Syrian oil, natural gas and other mineral resources have led to energy shortages as well as further deterioration of the economy and people's livelihoods.

The US has retained a military presence in northeastern and eastern Syria since 2014 after Syria's brutal conflict started in 2011 when anti-government protests turned into a complex war entangling rebels, jihadists and outside forces.

The US forces guarded and transported the stolen Syrian oil to Iraq where they sell it to Iraqi oil companies at a lower price and use the money to support the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and other opposition armed groups in Syria, said Zhu Weilie, director of the Middle East Studies Institute at the Shanghai International Studies University.

Zhu told the Global Times on Tuesday that the oil fields are concentrated in areas out of Syrian government's control where the US' blatant plundering of local resources to split Syria and spoil its sovereignty and territory integrity has lasted for more than ten years.

The US practices in Syria including its unlawful trafficking of Syrian oil have caused direct and indirect losses of about $107.1 billion to Syria's oil and gas sectors since 2011 to June in 2022, read letters that Syria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates handed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council on August 29, Syria Times reported. 

According to the letters, the US' exploiting, destroying, wasting, and exhausting of Syrian natural resources are depriving the Syrian people of their resources "at a time when Syria is already suffering from an acute shortage of energy materials", Syria Times reported.

Data released by Syria's Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources showed that in the first half of 2022, US forces allegedly stole more than 80 percent of Syria's oil resources every day as the country's average daily oil production can reach 80,000 barrels and 66,000 barrels were taken by the US and US-backed opposition armed groups. 

Zhu pointed out that such barefaced robbery in Syria is not much different from colonial plunder, which is quite rare to see as the US' attaining oil from other oil-producing countries is at least legal on the surface. 

"This is because Syria is still far from completely independent with violated sovereignty and the Syrian government's limited capacity," Zhu said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said last week that it is appalling to see the sheer scale of US plundering in Syria which faces a grave humanitarian crisis. 

"There is no greater injustice than the world's wealthiest country robbing one of the poorest," Zhao said, urging the US to return to the Syrian people the freedom, wealth and dignity that are rightfully theirs by ending its illegal military presence in Syria and stopping stealing oil from Syria.