Russian military releases satellite images alleging US smuggling of Syrian oil

The Russian Defense Ministry published satellite intelligence images proving that oil from Syria was sent abroad under the guard of US servicemen before and after the defeat of the Daesh terrorists, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Saturday.

The ministry spokesman said that “the space intelligence images showed that oil was actively extracted and massively exported for processing outside Syria, under the reliable protection of US troops, before and after the defeat of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorists.”

Satellite image provided by the Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday shows oil transit vehicles gather in Deir ez-Zor Province, Syria, 10 km east of Al Mayadin as part of the US’s illegal operation to ship oil out of Syria.

Commenting on the satellite intelligence, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said US operations in eastern Syria and its actions regarding Syrian oil could only be described as “international state banditism.” He added that Syria’s oil belongs to the Arab Republic, and not to Daesh or to “American protectors from Daesh.”

According to Russian intelligence, the illegal US-supervised extraction of Syrian oil was being carried out by “leading American corporations” and private military contractors, with US special forces and air power used for protection. Konashenkov said the estimated monthly revenue of this ‘private enterprise’ was over $30 million, and that for that kind of money, the Pentagon and the CIA would be “ready to ‘guard’ Syrian oil wells from ‘hidden Daesh cells’ indefinitely.”

The Defence Ministry spokesman pointed to several concrete examples of the scope of US-led operations. On August 23, satellites picked up a cluster of about 90 vehicles, including 23 tanker trucks, clustered at the Daman collection point, about 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor province.

Then, on September 5, 25 vehicles, 22 of them fuel trucks, were spotted in Hasakah province. On September 8, 36 more vehicles, 32 of them tankers, were spotted in the vicinity of Der ez-Zor, with 41 more vehicles, 34 of them fuel trucks, spotted in the Mayadin area in Deir ez-Zor.

Konashenkov cited a US-controlled company called ‘Sadcab’ or ‘Sedcab’, created under the auspices of the local Kurdish autonomy, as exporting the oil, with the proceeds going to numbered accounts of US military contractors and intelligence services.

Pentagon chief Mark Esper said Friday that the US intended to take measures in the near future to strengthen its position in the Syrian region of Deir ez-Zor in order to prevent terrorists from accessing oil fields. According to the defense secretary, Washington is studying how to move forces in the region so as “to ensure the safety of oil fields.”