The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, told the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw in an interview published Tuesday that American troops are “definitely not” staying in Syria for oil.
Last week, President Trump said he would reshuffle American troops in Syria to protect the nation’s oil fields from jihadist attacks.
Abdi, who commands the largely Kurdish, U.S.-allied SDF – the forces responsible for taking the Islamic State out in its “capital,” Raqqa – told Rudaw he did not believe America needed oil and that this claim was a pretext for staying and helping Kurdish allies.
Following President Trump’s statement confirming he would withdraw from Syria, Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced “Operation Peace Spring,” a plan to eradicate the indigenous Kurdish presence in Rojava and replace the locals with largely Arab Syrian refugees, 4 million of which currently reside in Turkey.
“We believe that the U.S. reaction [to the Turkish invasion] should not be one of economic sanctions, but to use its pressure and tell the Turks ‘You cannot attack.’ A single word like ‘Do not attack’ from Trump to Erdogan would stop the attack,” Abdi said.