Syria has strongly condemned an agreement signed between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group and an American oil company aimed at stealing the country’s oil, stressing that Damascus considers the contract null and void with no legal effect.
On Sunday, Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates made the comments in a statement, carried by Syria’s official news agency SANA, saying such a theft is carried out under the sponsorship and support of Washington.
“Syria considers this agreement null and void, and has no legal effect while warning again that such despicable acts express the approach of those client militias, which have accepted to be a cheap puppet in the hands of the US occupation,” the statement said.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed for the first time that a US oil company would begin work in SDF-controlled northeastern Syria, during his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I talked to General Mazloum [Abdi] yesterday, with the SDF. Apparently they’ve signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria. Are you supportive of that?” Senator Lindsay Graham asked Pompeo during the testimony, referring to the commander-of-chief of the US-backed SDF militant group.
“We are,” Pompeo responded. “The deal took a little longer, Senator, than we had hoped, and now we’re in implementation.”
It is, however, not clear which American company is involved in the illegal project and whether any other companies were given an exemption to US oil sanctions on the Arab country.
Al-Monitor, citing unnamed sources, named the company in a report on Thursday as Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware, without giving further details.
Elsewhere in the statement on Sunday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced the illegal agreement as an integrated and aggravated theft, describing it as a deal between thieves who are stealing and thieves who are buying.
The ministry lambasted the agreement as an assault against Syria’s sovereignty and a continuation of the US hostile approach toward Syria.
The ministry further slammed Washington for hindering the Syrian government’s efforts for rebuilding what has been destroyed by the foreign-led terrorism, which is “mostly backed by the US administration itself.”
A US-led military coalition has been bombarding what it claimed as Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism. The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the airstrikes, stressing that they have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.
The US has long been providing the SDF with arms and militant training, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against the Daesh terrorist group. Many observers, however, see the support in the context of Washington’s plans to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.
That support has also angered Washington’s NATO ally, Turkey, which views militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the backbone of the SDF – as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been engaged in a destructive war inside Turkey for decades.