The Syrian Oil Ministry accused the US and its proxy in Syria’s northeastern region, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in a statement released on August 9 of stealing around 83% of the country’s oil production.
“The amount of oil production during the first half of 2022 amounted to some 14.5 million barrels, with an average daily production of 80.3 thousand barrels, of which 14.2 thousand are delivered daily to refineries,” the statement reads. “US occupation forces and their mercenaries steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region.”
The ministry claimed that the oil sector in Syria has suffered losses of around 105 billion dollars since the outbreak of the war as a result of what it called the “US oil theft campaign.” Alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”
On 10 August, Russian and Syrian sources shared footage showing a convoy of tankers smuggling oil stolen from Syria’s Raqqa to Iraq. The footage was taken by a Russian attack helicopter. A day later, the Syrian Arab News Agency said that 144 tankers loaded with stolen Syrian oil had crossed into Iraq.
A recent report by al-Monitor revealed that the SDF has been selling Syrian oil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq at prices as low as at $15-$19 per barrel. There, the looted oil is either mixed in with the Iraqi Kurds’ own crude and sent to Turkey for onward export, or consumed locally.
To this day, the US maintains hundreds of troops in northeastern Syria. Washington claims that its troops are in the region to counter ISIS. However, most of these troop are deployed at key oil and gas fields.
The US will not likely end its military presence in Syria any time soon. The Biden administration appears to be committed to maintaining a presence in the country for the long term.