Julian Borger in Washington and Martin Chulov in Beirut |
Trump has said he hopes to secure a US share of Syrian oil revenues, which is potentially a war crime
The US military has started reinforcing its positions around oil fields in eastern Syria, saying the new deployments are part of its continuing counter-terrorist mission after the killing of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said on Monday that US forces would remain in Tanf, along the Iraqi border and more were being sent to the oil fields operated by the US energy corporation, ConocoPhillips around Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria.
Video footage from the region showed US military convoys re-entering Syria, days after Donald Trump had ordered them out in advance of a Turkish invasion. The change of mind reportedly came after Pentagon officials persuaded the president that it was essential to protect east Syrian oil resources.
“Keep the oil, I’ve always said that. We’ve secured the oil,” Trump told a police chiefs’ conference on Monday. The president has said that his aim would be to secure a US share of Syrian oil revenues, which is potentially a war crime.