U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper indicated that “the U.S. will maintain a reduced presence in Syria to deny ISIS access to oil revenue as we reposition for the next phase of the Defeat ISIS campaign”. Esper added that “ultimately, we always intended, as the president directed, to maintain a presence at the Al-Tanf garrison”. He also revealed that “we are now taking some action… to strengthen our position at Deir el-Zour, to ensure that we can deny ISIS access to the oil fields”, which “will include some mechanized forces”. Previously, via Twitter, President Trump had stated that “perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the oil region”.
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