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U.S. forces ordered to find a way to protect Syrian oil fields – NBC News, NBC News

U.S. forces ordered to find a way to protect Syrian oil fields – NBC News, NBC News


U.S. forces have been ordered to prepare to provide security for oil fields in eastern Syria to prevent them from falling into the hands of ISIS, a defense official told NBC News on Thursday.

The possible number of personnel that could be involved at oil fields in the Deir ez-Zor region hadn’t been determined, but “we’re not talking thousands,” the official said.

The operation, if approved, would be conducted alongside the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, the official said.

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A senior defense official separately told NBC News that President Donald Trump was briefed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Senate Republicans during a Situation Room briefing on the importance of securing the oil fields so they can’t be seized and used to fund ISIS ‘terrorist activities.

The Oil Fields discussed in my speech on Turkey / Kurds yesterday were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)October 24, 2019

The official said Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, was being given a number of options, among them sending tanks to the region, deploying forces pulled from an armored brigade. An additional consideration is the possible use of air assets to support ground forces.

Trump signaled the possible action in an address from the White House on Wednesday, when he said “we’re going to be protecting “Syrian oil fields.

” We have secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil, “he said.

The United States announced earlier this month that it wouldwithdraw its forces from northern Syria. The move was seen as a major blow to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.

Turkey and the United States are NATO allies, while the Kurds have been crucial U.S. allies in the war against ISIS.

But Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be an enemy, and soon after the U.S. announcement, itbegan an offensive inside Syriaagainst the Kurdish fighters, leading critics toaccuse the United Statesof having abandoned its longtime partner.

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