- Title: U.S. to strengthen troop presence near Syrian oil fields, Pentagon chief says
- Date: 25th October 2019
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NATO HEADQUARTERS U.S. FLAG FLYING
- Embargoed: 8th November 2019 13:45
- Keywords: Defence ministers Mark Esper Daesh NATO military presence Turkey Prisonners Syria Deir al-Zor meeting Islamic State U.S. Brussels United States
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: NATO,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002B2LJB5Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The United States will strengthen its military presence in Syria with "mechanized forces" to prevent Islamic State fighters from accessing oil fields and revenue, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday (October 25).
He did not say how many forces were currently in the region or how many additional forces would be sent.
Any significant U.S. military presence on the ground would need to be properly defended from potential attack, particularly in oil-rich areas of Syria that could become targets of not just Islamic State militants but potentially Russian-backed or Iran-backed forces operating in the country.
The vacuum left by Trump's partial withdrawal has created an opening that Russia exploited by moving forces into the area. U.S. officials worry that Iran-backed forces in Syria could also capitalize on the chaos.
Esper said his Turkish counterpart had told him that Ankara had recaptured some of 100 Islamic State militants who are believed to have escaped from prison in Syria as a result of the Turkish incursion.
Esper met Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Friday in Brussels during a NATO meeting.
(Production Clement Rossignol)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None