Hours after being involved in an operation in which three Syrian citizens were killed and several others were kidnapped, US forces in Syria were attacked on Monday, December 13. According to a report by Sputnik News, four explosions were heard from a US military base near the Omar oil field in Syria’s northeastern Deir al-Zor province. There were no immediate official reports about any damage or casualties caused by the blasts. The US forces have so far not issued any statement in the issue.
Earlier in the day, the US forces were involved in an attack in the town of al-Busaira in Deir al-Zor. According to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), “US occupation warplanes carried out a large airdrop operation in al-Busaira town” with active support of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF was identified by SANA with its Arabic acronym of QSD (Quwwatul Suriya al-Dimuqratiya).
The SANA report claimed that the US forces raided the town early on Monday morning, firing indiscriminately at peoples’ homes and killing at least three civilians. The US forces also kidnapped several people and took them to an unknown location, SANA claimed.
The SDF backed by the US controls most of eastern Syria following the defeat of Islamic State (ISIS) in 2017. According to al-Jazeera, the SDF said that Monday’s operation in al-Busaira was carried out against ISIS fighters with air support provided by the US forces.
There are at least 900 US troops in Syria located in different bases operated by the SDF. The one exclusive US base in Al-Tanf in eastern Syria was constructed in 2017 without any expressed permission from the Syrian government in the name of fighting ISIS. Previously, the US administration of former president Donald Trump had admitted that the US will not withdraw from the oil-rich region until the ISIS threat is completely eliminated, saying that it fears ISIS’ control over the resources may help to revive the group’s operations.
Before the war, the oil industry accounted for around 25% of the total state revenue of Syria. Most of its oil fields are located in the northeast areas which were captured by ISIS, and later by the SDF and US forces.
The Syrian government has demanded the withdrawal of US troops from the country, calling their presence “illegal occupation” of its oil-rich regions which deprives it of crucial revenues. It has also accused the US of stealing its oil resources. Various reports indicate that the US troops are also facing increasing popular resentment against their presence in Syria.
A recent revelation by The New York Times showed that the US carried out secret operations inside Syria from 2014 to 2019 led by a unit called Talon Anvil in which dozens of innocent civilians including women and children were killed.