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Syria Says Donald Trump ‘Stealing’ Its Oil, After U.S. Company Makes Deal to Drill

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Syria has accused President Donald Trump of stealing the country’s oil, after U.S. officials confirmed that a U.S. company has been allowed to operate there in fields under the control of a Pentagon-backed militia.

In remarks delivered Tuesday and sent to Newsweek by the Syrian permanent mission to the United Nations, representative Bashar al-Jaafari told the U.N. Security Council that “the U.S. occupation forces, in full view of the United Nations and the international community, took a new step to plunder Syria’s natural resources, including Syrian oil and gas” through the recent establishment of a company called “Crescent Delta Energy.”

This firm, “with the sponsorship and support of the US Administration, has entered into a contract with the so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF’ militia, an agent of the US occupation forces in northeastern Syria, with the aim of stealing Syrian oil and depriving the Syrian state and Syrian people of the basic revenues necessary to improve the humanitarian situation, provide for livelihood needs and reconstruction,” he added.

The Syrian diplomat noted that Trump had made his intentions known earlier, such as in a late October press conference at which the president said he sought “to make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies” to take hold of oil in Syria. Trump has publicly professed “I love oil!” and that he was staying militarily involved Syria “only for the oil,” even as his officials insisted the Pentagon’s main focus was battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

“Removing Daesh fighters, weapons, and explosive material remains a top priority as Daesh continues to plot attacks against innocent civilians and our partners throughout Iraq and northeast Syria,” the U.S.-led coalition said, using an Arabic-language acronym for ISIS, in a press release sent to Newsweek on Thursday.

But that same day, Trump again voiced his view on the Syria mission: “As you know, in Syria we’re down to almost nothing, except we kept the oil. But we’ll work out some kind of a deal with the Kurds on that. But we left, but we kept the oil.”