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The US is reportedly establishing an at-Tanf-like military garrison in the Omar oil fields area in the province of Deir Ezzor. Considering the US attempt to maintain a military presence in Syria for as long as possible, Washington may see the Syrian oil and gas resources as useful tool to gain an additional financial revenue from its occupation of the eastern part of the country.
A video has also appeared allegedly showing two US-led coalition Blackhawk helicopters landing in the area.
On March 19, the Syrian state-run news agency SANA accused the US-led coalition of evacuating four ISIS members from the area between the villages of al-Jissi and Kalu in southeastern countryside of Qamishli.
SANA also recalled that on February 26 the US allegedly evacuated a number of ISIS members to the Sabah al-Kheir center, 20 km south of Hasaka, which the US forces are using as center for training militant groups.
According to one version, the US is going to use the evacuated ISIS members to create “security threates” in Central Asia. In late 2017 and early 2018 reports appeared that the US had already redeployed some ISIS members from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan. The ISIS threat will serve as justification for a continued US military presence in the country.
Following the military success of the Turkish Army and the Free Syrian Army in Afrin, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan vowed to clear the entire Syrian north, from Manbij to Qamishli, of Kurdish militias, mostly the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
He also hinted that the Turkish Army may conduct a large-scale military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is a Kurdish militant separatist organization operating in southern Turkey, northern Syria and northern Iraq. The PKK has for a long time been involved in militancy against the Turkish government and de-facto seeks to establish an independent Kurdish state, which would include territories from Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
Ankara describes the YPG as a branch of the PKK. The YPG is at the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. US support for the YPG is one of the reasons behind the current Turkish-US tensions in the diplomatic sphere.
In Eastern Ghouta, Syrian and Russian forces continued evacuating civilians from the militant-held areas. According to Chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, 44,639 people have been evacuated in recent days.
The Russian military has also warned that militants in Eastern Ghouta have not abandoned their attempts to stage false flag chemical attacks which they plan to blame on the Syrian government.