U.S. building military bases in Syria’s oil-rich Deir al-Zor – Turkish state news agency

The U.S. military has begun construction of two military bases in Syria’s northeastern Deir al-Zor governorate, where much of the country’s oil reserves are located, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

The United States is bolstering its presence in the oil-rich region after U.S. President Donald Trump reversed a previous decision to fully withdraw from Syria and said U.S. troops would instead “secure the oil”.

“The military bases are being built in the 113th Brigade area and near al-Sur region,” Anadolu said, citing local sources.

The Turkish news agency said between 250 and 300 U.S. troops had been sent to Deir al-Zor, along with heavy weapons, armoured vehicles and ammunition.

Trump announced in early October the full withdrawal of American forces from Syria, where they had been deployed in self-governing administrations set up by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other factions.

Turkey last month launched a military offensive against the SDF, which it considers a security threat due to its links to Kurdish insurgent groups in Turkey, successfully drove the Kurdish-led forces away from much of the Turkish-Syrian border and secured deals with the United States and Russia to end the fighting.

Facing criticism in Washington for abandoning Kurdish forces that had played a prominent role in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), Trump defended his decision to withdraw by saying it would bring troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East.

But within a month, the U.S. forces were deployed once more to Syrian territory controlled by the SDF, where U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said they would guard the oil resources to prevent any resurgent ISIS forces from capturing them and to allow the SDF to extract and monetise them.