US Troops Not Sure Who They Are Supposed to Shoot At in Syria

Commanders sent to oilfields, but no missions have been given

The US war in Syria is undergoing a dramatic change in recent weeks. Simply looking at President Trump’s Twitter, the impression is the war ended, then restarted, and went from being about ISIS to about oil.

The Pentagon isn’t operating based off Trump’s Twitter, however, and that’s unfortunate for commanders, as they have been scrambling around to oil fields without any actual orders or clear missions of what they’re supposed to be doing.

It’s a confusing time to be part of America’s war in Syria, as clearly the war is something about oil, and the presence of the US troops at oil reflects that. Troops aren’t even clear who they’re supposed to be protecting the oil from, or what the rules of engagement are with respect to protecting the oil.

Top officials aren’t clarifying that, either, sometimes presenting the US as keeping the oil from ISIS, or away from Iran, and other times flat out saying they are there to keep Syria’s oil from Syria. Trump is more specific about his ambitions to take the oil, than filling in the huge gaps in that plan.

Some defense officials are saying the lack of orders is because there haven’t been any decisions made yet on what the troops are going to do at the oilfields, beyond going there. They confirm that’s a big problem for commanders.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.