Syria’s Oil Reserves Seen as Key to Controlling the Country’s Future

Syria's reserves are small, but vital for the war-torn country

Given President Trump’s repeated talk of taking Syria’s oil as his primary military goal, one might get the impression that Syria is actually a large oil producing nation. In reality the nation’s proven reserves are quite minuscule, not even in the top 30 worldwide.

The reason it has remained a key focus within Syria is that, several years into a disastrous war, it’s about the only thing Syria has going for it. Even with the infrastructure in ruins, Syria’s oil might be used for reconstruction.

With much of Syria’s oil production in the nation’s northeast, where the Syrian government is not in control, this means that if oil is going to be the deciding factor of who controls post-war Syria, it is still very much up for grabs.

Economic analysts question Syria’s ability to get the nation’s production back up, even if they end up in control of the oil. Many are also scoffing at the Trump plan, doubting the US could ever produce enough even to break even on their ongoing occupation of the oilfields.

Even if Syria is never able to produce enough oil to fully recover from the war, as one of the nation’s few dependable revenue streams control over that oil will remain a major test for who is actually in power. The US interest in controlling the oil is likely being done primarily to undermine Assad, as opposed to actually making a profit looting the country’s limited reserves. Knowing its importance, Syria is likely to ensure the US forces are as costly as possible to maintain.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of