U.S. selling stolen Syrian oil to Turkey, says Assad

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday said the United States is selling to Turkey oil seized from Syrian oil wells in the country’s northeast.

The United States is “stealing oil produced to the east of  the Euphrates and selling it to Turkey,” Russian TASS news agency quoted the Syrian president as telling China’s Phoenix Television.

U.S. President Donald Trump approved in November an expanded military mission to control oil fields across eastern Syria, after announcing a withdrawal of troops from the north of the country, where Turkey launched a military offensive targeting Kurdish forces the month before. 

The oil wells east of the Euphrates before the Americans were used by the Jabhat al-Nusra and later the Islamic State (ISIS) terror groups, Assad said.

“The Turkish regime plays a direct part in selling the oil, previously with al-Nusra, later with ISIS and today with the Americans,” the Syrian president added. 

The Russian Defence Ministry has accused Washington of smuggling Syrian oil to other countries, with the convoys being protected by private U.S. military companies and special operations units.

The United States, for its part, has said U.S. presence in the region is legal and its presence in the region is to ensure that oil fields in northeastern Syria would not be seized by terrorists.