SDF to receive revenue from Syrian oil fields - Pentagon

The Pentagon said on Thursday that revenue from oilfields in northeastern Syria would go to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led group that withdrew from areas of northern Syria as part of a U.S.-brokered deal to halt Turkey’s military operation last month.

Turkey says the SDF is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting inside Turkey for more than three decades and is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

“The revenue from this is not going to the U.S., this is going to the SDF,” Reuters quoted Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman as saying to reporters.

Ankara on Oct. 9 launched a military offensive in northern Syria against the YPG, which constitutes the bulk of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS).

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out American troops in northern Syria paved the way for the Turkish incursion. But Washington later said that some U.S. troops would stay to protect the oil fields in Deir al-Zor in northeast Syria. 

The total number of U.S. forces is expected to number in the hundreds and potentially only slightly less than the roughly 1,000 that were in northern Syria when Trump made his withdrawal announcement last month, Reuters said. 

Turkey and the United States agreed on a ceasefire on Oct. 17 to allow the SDF to retreat from a 32 km deep region between northeastern towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ayn.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that the United States was failing to fulfil its promise to ensure the complete withdrawal of the SDF from the agreed region. The president said he would discuss the issue with Trump in an upcoming meeting in Washington next week. 

Hoffman said he was not aware of SDF fighters in the area, adding that the United States did not have complete visibility and the ceasefire was generally holding.