The US is planning to keep control of oil fields on the eastern bank of the Euphrates despite the ongoing troops withdrawal. On October 21, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that Washington wants to be sure that ensure oil fields do not fall into the hands of ISIS or other militants.
According to media reports, the number of US troops remaining in the Omar oil fields area will be 200. 400 more US-linked private military contractors are also expected to remain. This number, backed up by the US Air Force, will be enough to remain in the area. However, it remains unclear how Washington is planning to exploit the seized oilfields when forces of the ‘bloody Assad regime’ deploy all around the US garrison. Most likely, the oil fields will become another bargaining chip in Washington’s Syrian strategy.
Northeastern Syria remains the hottest part of the country despite the temporary ceasefire in the region. According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a total of 765 ‘terrorists’ have been neutralized since the start of Operation Peace Spring.
Speaking at TRT World Forum, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey has “never sat at a table with the terror groups” during the government’s 17-year term, and “will never do so.” Additionally Erdogan slammed the West, including EU and NATO states, for standing by ‘terrorists’ against Turkey during its operation in northern Syria. Erdogan further recalled his upcoming visit to Russia to discuss the processes ongoing in northeastern Syria.
During the October 17 press briefing, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mariya Zakharova, said that Russia “has always recognized Turkey’s legitimate interests in the security of its borders” and stands “for practical cooperation between Damascus and Ankara on the basis of the 1998 Adana Agreement.”
Remarks by the Russian side became another demonstration of the ongoing cooperation of Turkey, the US and the Syrian-Russian bloc over the situation in northeastern Syria. In this situation versions that describe the current situation in northeastern Syria as a pre-agreed scenario that plays into the hand of Damascus, Moscow, Washington and Ankara look even more reliable.