US troops tasked with guarding Syria’s oil fields are reportedly still waiting for guidance on their mission
United States troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive guidance on their mission, including the basic rules of engagement, according to a military official in a CNN report published Monday
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
U.S. troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive guidance on their mission, including the basic rules of engagement, according to a military official in a CNN report published Monday.
Some military commanders deployed to Eastern Syria were reportedly still waiting to receive their directives to guard oil fields in the region. For some of these troops, it was unclear where their destinations would be and how long they were expected to stay there, according to CNN.
President Donald Trump and his congressional allies in recent weeks have shown interest in the oil fields in the country, even deploying additional troops and armored vehicles to protect the oil reserves.
“What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly,” Trump said on October 27, adding that he wanted to “spread out the wealth.”
“The oil is so valuable for many reasons,” Trump added.
U.S. troops in northeastern Syria were called back after Trump ordered their withdrawal, ahead of Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish forces earlier this month.
But Trump also ordered troops into the region to protect oil fields from Islamic State militants, Syria, and Russia.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops were deployed to the region when Turkey embarked on its offensive on October 9.
After accounting for the new troops, around 900 U.S. service members are expected to remain.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, the majority-Kurdish forces that were allied with the US for the war against ISIS, have operated the oil fields after seizing them from the terrorist group in 2017.
The SDF has been selling the crude oil to the Syrian regime through a sanctioned broker, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing sources familiar with the situation.
The confusion wrought from the abrupt military repositioning also comes shortly after artillery rounds landed about 1 kilometer away from U.S. troops.
U.S. forces patrolling northeast Syria on Sunday reportedly noticed the artillery fire, according to the Military Times.
No U.S. service members were injured.
The event follows another similar incident on October 11, when Turkish artillery fire landed a few hundred meters away from a location with U.S. forces.
Following the incident, a US official demanded that Turkey “avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action.”
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