American Style Heist: How the U.S. is Plundering Syria’s Resources

Alexandre Lemoine

The U.S. authorities should immediately stop the illegal export of agricultural products and oil from Syrian territory, said Chinese diplomatic spokesman Wang Wenbin.

He pointed to the fact that the U.S. military has captured and occupied prime areas of agricultural crops and oil fields in Syria.

The Chinese diplomat called it state-level raiding and demanded not only to stop plundering Syrian resources, but also to compensate all the damage inflicted by the Americans on this Arab country.

The Chinese spokesman said that the Americans control Syria’s main communications. Syrians are outraged by the actions of the American military and say that the Americans did not come there to fight terrorism but to plunder the country.

The talk about the plundering of Syria by the Americans is confirmed by many sources, writes the Iranian magazine Resalat. Official statistics from the Syrian Oil Ministry confirm that up to 70,000 barrels per day are exported from the country by the Americans and the groups they control.

As noted by the Saudi journal Asharq Al-Awsat, the size of Syria’s oil reserves had long remained confidential. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense estimated the Islamic State’s (IS, a terrorist organization banned in Russia) revenue from the sale of Syrian oil at $40 million per month. Two years later, EI troops have been driven out of eastern Syria, while the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have established control over the country’s main oil fields.

Oil production in Syria stood at 406,000 barrels per day in 2008. By 2015, production had dropped to 27,000 barrels, and to only 24,000 in 2018. Then, in 2020, it is distributed upwards to 89,000 barrels per day, but, as stated by the Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohmé, virtually all the oil currently produced in eastern Syria is stolen.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has repeatedly drawn attention to the plundering of Syrian resources by the Americans. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, said that for a long time the U.S. military was illegally on Syrian territory and stole the country’s mineral resources.

This was also confirmed by former U.S. President Donald Trump: “We keep the oil. Remember that. I’ve always said it: keep the oil. And we want to keep the oil, $45 million a month.”

In 2020, Politico magazine reported that a certain U.S. company had signed a contract with Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria on the exploitation and export of crude oil from the region in a secret deal approved by the U.S. government. “The Syrian foreign minister called the deal illegal, calling it a theft of Syrian oil,” Politico reports.

The U.S. is not only stealing oil, but also Syrian grain. Before the conflict began, Syria was a prosperous agrarian country and produced up to 4 million tons of wheat per year. These harvests were not only sufficient to satisfy domestic demand, but also for exports, especially to the European Union. Now Syria is running out of grain and Damascus is forced to buy it from abroad.

The U.S. army and its subordinate Syrian Democratic Forces have occupied and held territory east of the Euphrates River with a center in the province of Hassakeh, which is the largest wheat producer in the country. The grain and oil produced there is being expropriated by the Americans and their Syrian accomplices and moved to Iraq.

If the wheat and oil east of the Euphrates were used entirely for domestic demand, it would have significantly reduced Syria’s food and other problems, while the standard of living of the local population would rise.

Against the backdrop of hypocritical U.S. concern over Ukrainian grain, American plundering of Syria seems particularly cynical.