On July 23, the U.S.-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) held joint live-fire drills in the al-Omar oil fields in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
According to several sources, large explosions resulting from the drills were heard in southeast and east Deir Ezzor. Warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition were also seen flying over the SDF-held part of the governorate.
The al-Omar oil fields were captured from ISIS by the SDF in October 2017. The oil fields are among Syria’s most valuable resources.
The U.S.-led coalition is heavily involved in the training of SDF personnel. On July 4, the coalition held a joint tactical training with the group’s Anti-Terror Forces, known as HAT.
Members of Kurdish led Hêzên Antî Teror (HAT) clear rooms during urban operations rehearsals in Syria, July 4th, 2020. Coalition and partner forces perform regular rehearsals in a joint effort to defeat Daesh remnants in northeast Syria. #DefeatDaesh #StrongSyria pic.twitter.com/VhDvzyeJh4
— Special Ops Joint Task Force-OIR (Iraq/Syria) (@SOJTFOIR) July 23, 2020
Around 500 U.S. troops were kept in Syria in order to “guard” key oil fields, including al-Omar. The U.S.-led coalition is now employing hundreds of well-trained SDF militants to guard the fields.
The U.S. military presence in northeastern Syrian oil fields is keeping these resources out of Damascus reach. The SDF’s self-administration is mismanaging these field. Some related facilities are still out of service to this day.