U.S. troops, armoured vehicles move into eastern Syria

World
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Accra, Nov. 1, (UPI/GNA) – U.S. infantry
troops and armoured vehicles moved into eastern Syria as part of a mission to
fight the Islamic State and protect oil fields from falling into their hands, a
U.S. military official said.

Col. Myles Caggins, spokesman for Operation
Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led mission to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria, said
Thursday that “mechanized forces” were being redeployed to the
eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor to support the Kurdish-led, U.S.-ally Syrian
Democratic Forces “to defeat [IS] remnants, protect critical
infrastructure and deny [IS] access to revenue sources.”

U.S. Army troops and Bradley armoured
vehicles were being “repositioned” from Iraq for the mission, Caggins
said in a tweet that was accompanied by pictures of troops loading the vehicles
onto aircraft.

The move comes a week after U.S. Defense
Secretary Mark Esper said they were considering leaving troops in Syria to
protect oil fields amid a U.S. forces withdrawal from the country at the orders
of President Donald Trump.

In early October, Trump ordered U.S. troops
to withdraw from Syria, a move that has attracted bipartisan criticism for
seemingly green lighting Turkey to conduct Operation Peace Spring to rid its
border with Syria of Kurds it views as terrorists.

On Monday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Gen. Mark Milley said in a press briefing that U.S. troops in Syria will
continue to secure the Conoco oil fields in and around Deir ez-Zor to prevent
it and revenue from the sale of the oil from aiding IS in resurging in the
area.

Esper said that the redeployment was already
underway and would continue until they have “sufficient capability”
to prevent IS, other similar terrorist groups, Russia and Syria from gaining
control of the fields so the SDF can use profits from the sale of the oil to
aid the United States in its mission.

“We want to make sure that SDF does
have access to the resources in order to guard the prisons, in order to arm
their own troops, in order to assist us with the defeat-[IS] mission,”
Esper said. “So that’s our mission is to secure the oil fields.”

Caggins said the troop redeployed to the
oil-rich area of Syria are National Guard soldiers from North Carolina and
South Carolina.

GNA

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