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US Increases Military Infrastructure in Syria, Says it Aims to Focus on Islamic State Not Oil Fields

US forces are building a 1,400-meter-long runway at a US military base in the Omar oil field in the Deir Ezzor province, and new troops and equipment are reportedly being transferred to the base, reports IWN. The runway is located in the center of a flat, desert area, and there is no significant elevation up to about 10 miles away.

Pentagon spokesman John #Kirby has said that since a U.S. firm contracted last year with the #Kurds in northern #Syria to help exploit northeastern Syria oil reserves, U.S. troops are not involved. 

#U.S. forces in Syria are focused on fighting the remnants of the #IslamicState group and are not guarding oil fields as previously ordered by former President Donald #Trump, a U.S. defense official said Monday.

The 900 U.S. #military personnel and contractors in the region “are not authorized to provide assistance to any other private company, including its employees or agents, seeking to develop oil resources in Syria,” Kirby said.

The only exception is when U.S. troops in Syria are operating under existing authorizations to protect civilians, he said, which could explain the continuing presence of U.S. forces around the area of the oil fields.

“It’s important to remember that our mission there remains to enable the enduring defeat of ISIS,” he said, referring to the Islamic State.

Islamic World News reports that in the Syrian province of #al-Hasakah, the runway built by US forces has been completed and construction is almost complete. The length of this runway is 1200 meters and it is located south of the town #al-Shaddadi. On February 6, two US coalition helicopters entered Syria from the Iraqi border and landed at the US base in #al-Shaddadi.

After #Biden took office as President of the US, the US military has been increasing its presence in Syria, transferring large numbers of equipment and troops from Iraq to its illegal bases in Syria in recent weeks.

The main oil fields are in territory in the country’s northeast, a region where the U.S.-allied Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces hold sway and depend on the oil for income.

In 2019, after the Syria-Iraq Islamic State “caliphate” was crushed by U.S. and allied forces, #Trump declared that U.S. troops would mostly withdraw from the country, leaving behind a residual force to “protect” the oil.

U.S. officials said at the time that they were there to prevent the oil fields from falling into the hands of extremists.

The next year a previously unknown U.S. oil company, Delta Crescent Energy, signed a deal with the Kurds to exploit the oil deposits.

Iran ’s representative to the UN has protested recent Israeli military action threats against the country, calling on the intergovernmental organization to interfere.

Iran Calls for UN Response Over Israeli War Provocations

US and global stocks hit record highs on Monday as Joe Biden’s administration kept the pressure on Congress over his plan for $1.9tn in stimulus. WallStreet’s S&P 500 index rose 0.7 per cent to close at a record high of 3,915.59 as equities rallied into the close. The blue-chip index notched its sixth consecutive gain and its longest winning streak since August, Financial Times reports.

Global Stocks Rise to Record High; Dollar Weakens