Middle Euphrates River Valley, Syria 0
28 October 2019

Reaffirming that “the United States will retain control of oil fields in northeast Syria”, U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper stressed that “we will respond with overwhelming military force against any group that threatens the safety of our forces there”. Responding to a question on whether this mission “include[s] denying access, preventing Russian or Syrian forces”, Secretary Esper went on to assert that “the short answer is yes, it presently does, because in that case 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 ISIS mission. So that's our mission, is to secure the oil fields”. Esper also reaffirmed that “we also were given the earlier directive to retain forces at the Al-Tanf garrison”.

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