“Americans and their allies are targeting the Syrian oil wealth and its tankers just like pirates,” Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Bassam Tomeh, told state-run and Arabic-language al-Ikhbariyah Syria television on Thursday evening.
He noted that the cost of direct and indirect damage to the Syrian oil sector stands at more than $92 billion.
“What has happened all through Syria war has not happened in any country, in terms of preventing us from tapping our wealth resources and at the same time stopping basic commodities from reaching our country,” Tomeh said.
The report published on March 11 said the Israeli regime, since late 2019, had been using naval weapons, including water mines, to strike vessels which were either Iranian, or carried Iranian cargo, as they navigated toward Syria in the Red Sea and in other areas of the region.
“The oil sector has been targeted chiefly because it is the main source of income for the Syrian economy. We are looking forward to the exploitation of oil reserves in our territorial waters, but oil exploration contracts are pricey and time-consuming,” the Syrian oil minister pointed out.
“We have a bright oil future in these waters, nevertheless the exploitation of oil reserves requires calm and stable logistical conditions,” Tomeh said.
The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the US troop deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists. Damascus, however, says the US troop deployment is meant to plunder Syria’s resources.
The US first confirmed its looting of Syrian oil during a Senate hearing exchange between South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in July last year.