U.S. troops guarding oil fields in Syria still waiting for orders
U.S. troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive instructions regarding their mission, including the basic rules of engagement (ROEs), according to a military official in a CNN report published on Nov. 4, echoed by David Choi.
U.S. soldiers of the 4th Bn, 118th Inf Rgt, 30th Armd Bde Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard, attached to the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard, provide M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles for support to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) eastern Syria Oct. 31, 2019. The mechanized infantry troops will partner with Syrian Democratic Forces to deny Daesh access to critical infrastructure in eastern Syria (Picture source: U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. DeAndre Pierce)
Some military commanders deployed to Eastern Syria were reportedly still waiting to receive their directives to guard oil fields in the region. For some of these troops, it was unclear where their destinations would be and how long they were expected to stay there, according to CNN.
President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have shown interest in the oil fields in the country, even deploying additional troops and armored vehicles to protect the oil reserves. Once the comings and goings are done, the number of U.S. forces in Syria is expected to reach about 900, close to the 1,000 troops on the ground when President Trump ordered the initial withdrawal. "What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," Trump said on October 27, adding that he wanted to "spread out the wealth."
The confusion wrought from the abrupt military repositioning also comes shortly after artillery rounds landed about 1 kilometer away from US troops, David Choi reports. No US service members were injured. The event follows another similar incident on October 11, when Turkish artillery fire landed a few hundred meters away from a location with US forces. Following the incident, a US official demanded that Turkey "avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action."