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Syrian Democratic Forces Reap Benefit From Oil Money


By C. Todd Lopez


Revenue from oil fields in Syria supports the Syrian Democratic Forces, not the United States, said a defense official.

“The revenue from [oil fields] is not going to the U.S. [It] is going to the SDF,” said Jonathan Rath Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, during a news conference earlier this week at the Pentagon.

According to Navy Rear Adm. William D. Byrne Jr., the vice director of the Joint Staff, ISIS was in control of the oil infrastructure in Syria in 2015 and was producing 45,000 barrels a day — worth about $1.5 million.

Hoffman said ISIS used that money to fund operations not just in Syria and the region, but throughout Europe and the world. “And we want to prevent that from happening,” he said.

The U.S. military and partners in Syria now work “shoulder to shoulder” to keep ISIS forces from ever again having access to the Syrian oil infrastructure and the revenue it produces, Byrne said. Nevertheless, controlling the oil fields in Syria is not the U.S. mission in the country.


“The mission is to defeat ISIS,” Byrne said. “The securing of the oil fields is a subordinate task to that mission. And the purpose of that task is to deny ISIS the revenues from that oil infrastructure.”

Hoffman said ISIS is not eliminated, rather, it’s weakened from what it once was.

“The physical caliphate, the physical ownership and control of land, has been defeated,” he said. “We’ve not said that ISIS as an ideology and ISIS as an insurgency has been eliminated.”

Now, he said, ISIS conducts insurgent operations in the country, but continues to look for opportunities to regain its strength. “One of the ways they would be able to grow that back is by obtaining access to revenue, including the oil fields.”

Hoffman said U.S. efforts to secure oil fields in Syria serve two purposes. The first is to keep ISIS from benefiting from the revenue the oil fields provide.

The second, he said, is to provide Kurds in the area and the SDF with the funding they need to keep pressure on ISIS.

“It’s preventing ISIS from getting it,” Hoffman said, while at the same time allowing the Kurds and the SDF to have control of it, as well.

DoD News

DoD News publishes news from the US Defense Department.

One thought on “Syrian Democratic Forces Reap Benefit From Oil Money

  • November 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    This is a fake title and analysis. The US forces landed in Syria around 2012 and have been looting Syrian oil. Under Obama and now Trump. The USA is taking about one billion dollar a month for 12 billion a year. For seven years the total loot is about 84 billion.
    The money did not go to the Syrian Democratic Forces or may be a simple portion because most of the spending on these terrorists were paid by the Gulf Arab States. Trump said about a week ago that a part of the money goes to those forces and the rest is used to finance US operations in the region. But since US operations are financed by MBS and other Arabs, then these funds are going to the USA, and people will find out who take this money of the looted Syrian oil.
    Finally, this process of looting the Syrian oil has become the new mission for the US forces. But this mission has not approved by the US Congress. It is also true that looting money and resources from occupied areas is a war crime.


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