Translation of a recent article by the Federal News Agency (ФАН), Russian news online source. The following is ALAFF’s own translation. Images containing the names of settlements were also translated into English by ALAFF.
While Kurdish militants from the «Syrian Democratic Forces» (SDF) are rescuing the Islamic State’s (organization banned in Russia) terrorists from the former «Hadjin pocket», the US is stealing oil from the largest Deir-ez-Zor fields. The latest evidence was published by the Arab media. How the West brazenly and illegally pumps out the Syrian «black gold», while receiving huge dividends — read in the material of the Federal News Agency.
«Al-Omar» — Jerablus route.
On February 12, the Middle Eastern edition of ArabiToday published a video that clearly demonstrates the scale of the illegal export of oil from Syria. The video was made by an American drone which allegedly controlled the movement of the column from the air. An unnamed Kurdish source from the SDF alliance gave it to the media. He told ArabiToday that the UAV recorded only 30 cars, while 250-300 oil tankers total took part in the trip.
Crude oil is transported by cars from the territory of the largest Syrian oil field Al-Omar in the province of Deir-ez-Zor to the north of the province of Aleppo, which is controlled by militants of the «Free Syrian Army» (FSA).
This fact directly indicates that it is the US, who are involved in the theft of oil and subsequent sale, not the Kurdish armed forces.
It was the groups from the FSA who beat the Kurds out of Afrin last year, and now they are preparing to free all border areas in northern Syria from the SDF. It is unlikely that in this situation the militants of the «Free Syrian Army» would agree to let their immediate adversary into the territory they control.
As the Federal News Agency was able to determine, a video posted by ArabiToday shows the passage of a column along the Al-Omar — Al-Buseirah highway.
Let’s recall that control over the Al-Omar field was lost by Syrian troops in 2012. For several years, the terrorists of the “Islamic State” who seized this area have provided themselves with a huge income by the illegal extraction and smuggling of Syrian oil.
However, even when Kurds and Americans came to replace ISIS terrorists in East Deir-ez-Zor, the robbery of the Syrian state did not stop. According to the ArabiToday source in the SDF, stolen oil columns travel routes every 10 days.
They cross the Euphrates over a bridge near the village of Karakozak in the province of Aleppo, and continue to move to the SDF-controlled Manbij.
Already from there, the column is sent to the territory captured by factions from the «Free Syrian Army» (FSA) — to the village of Jerablus. From there, according to a Kurdish source, the oil tankers are returning to the Al-Omar area being empty.
Russian intelligence in October 2018 has already fixed a large column of oil tankers near the village of Umm-Adaset-Farath, located on the border of the control zones of the Kurdish armed forces and the «Free Syrian Army».
In 2015–2017, according to American analysts, oil became the largest source of income for ISIS. It is known that at the peak of its power, the self-proclaimed «caliphate» received, according to various estimates, up to $5 million a day from the sale of oil. For example, in 2015, experts estimated ISIS income at $3 million per day — and this is the most conservative estimate.
Even despite the subsequent decline as a result of the successful military operations of the Syrian troops and the Russian Aerospace Forces, the income of terrorists from oil smuggling, according to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), was $1-2 million daily.
In September 2017, when the Syrian Arab army, with the support of Russian aviation, began to liberate the province of Deir-ez-Zor, the Kurdish armed forces also began to move hastily towards this area. While the government forces were engaged in fierce battles with ISIS, the “Syrian Democratic Forces”, mediated by the US military and security forces, simply negotiated with the terrorists, which is ample evidenced.
Oilfield Al-Omar, like many other oil fields, was transferred without a fight after negotiations between the ISIS and representatives of US forces. Moreover, the militants of the «Islamic State», guarding the oil fields, have fallen under the banner of the «Syrian Democratic Forces».
Subsequently, US forces deployed a full-fledged military base in close proximity to Al-Omar, as reported by representatives of Kurdish armed units themselves in the spring of 2018.
The Federal News Agency has repeatedly reported about collusion between the United States, ISIS terrorists and Kurds — for example, back in September 2017 it became known that the United States and Kurds agreed with the terrorists about the transfer of the large Tabia oilfield where Conoco plant was located. The captive ISIS militant said that they were ordered not to destroy the plant’s buildings and in no case to not open fire on the Kurds. This information was confirmed by a Lebanese journalist Firas Shufi in his film.
In a similar pattern, the Kurds entered the Al-Ezba and Al-Jafra oilfields. At the same time, oil-producing facilities, which the government army returned to control of Damascus, were bombarded by the international coalition in order to impede oil production and force Damascus to spend money on restoring production.
Now all the same ISIS terrorists — this time under the direct supervision of the Kurds and the United States — continue to steal Syrian oil. Thus, in 2018, the route of transportation of «black gold» across the Syrian-Iraqi border was exposed. The passage of the convoy of tankers with oil was repeatedly recorded on the way from Al-Omar to the US military base near the village of Al-Shaddadi. Oil was exported through the «gray zone» in the area of Iraqi Sinjar — moreover, it is known that the Islamic State gangs, allegedly losing direct control over the fields, also had their share.
As for the revenues that the United States and their allies receive from illegal oil pumping — here we can talk about unprecedented amounts. According to analysts and experts in the oil industry, in Syria, any legal investors after several years [of work] received only 30% of the profits from the extraction and sale of fuel — the remaining amount went to the SAR government. However, in the case of ISIS, the Kurds and the United States, the profit is 100% — and it’s right now.
Oil is sold literally for pennies
“Indeed, oil was one of the goals of the United States in Syria, especially since this oil is sold literally for pennies. In this case, both buyers and sellers of oil get absolutely tremendous benefits, from both sides.
Oil is sold two times below its market value — who will refuse such a gift? For sellers, this is also beneficial, since it allows them to receive quite a lot of money, but at the same time bypassing the central authorities, while allowing to finance their own projects.
Thus, in terms of benefits, this enterprise is absolutely amazing, and I understand that many people have earned huge sums of money on this,” — said the interlocutor to the Federal News Agency, an orientalist and journalist Andrei Ontikov.
The expert stressed that the economic motives for the intervention in Syria developed in parallel with the geopolitical tasks that were solved by the United States and other Western countries, artificially causing a crisis in the country.
“Those who are engaged in the artificial creation of this kind of crises, use every opportunity to extract all possible dividends during the crisis: political, economic, and so on. When they have the opportunity to somehow directly or indirectly make money on a crisis by selling oil, they do it,” — said the orientalist.
Political analyst Alexander Asafov, who also commented on the situation to the Federal News Agency, agrees with him.
“The fact is that the Americans still want to have direct access to the oil and gas resources of the Middle East, including Syria. Here the Kurdish factor matters, which they diligently inflate with dreams of an “independent united Kurdistan” — this is also part of the strategy for oil companies to access the fields.
When the «Islamic State» began to weaken as a result of successful operations of government troops with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, rather quickly there were people who took this illegal business into their hands, — Asafov said. — In a rather chaotic collection of Kurdish armed groups, there are those who deal only with the control of oil fields and oil sales channels.”
The expert confirmed the analysts’ guesses about the large dividends that the United States receives from the illegal oil trade. Within the framework of smuggling mechanisms, such activity, in addition to high profits, is significantly cheaper. For the US, this is convenient and also removes the difficulty of financing pro-American armed groups in Syria.
“It was the Americans, not the Kurds, who built a chain from the oilfield to the final buyer, — Alexander Asafov stressed. — During this process, some employees of the United States intelligence community receive additional corruption income.”
Thus, the political scientist concludes, America is interested in «creating chaos in Syria and destroying the Syrian economy». At the same time, the smuggling of petroleum products, bringing US profits, beats the economy of the Syrian Arab Republic, depriving Damascus of revenues from legal production.