US Plans To Build Up Syrian Proxy Forces to Guard Oilfield

Plan to exploit Syrian oil comes with plan to strengthen Kurdish SDF

US plans for the ongoing war in Syria are, as they so often have been throughout, built around the idea that they can win by arming and propping up the right proxy forces. This is built around the other major US plan, to take Syria’s oil.

Indeed, an agreement on Delta Crescent Energy LLC making a contract on Syrian oil with the Syrian Kurds detailed further plans to bolster the Kurdish SDF and create a force affiliated with them that will guard the US-occupied oilfield.

Official reports played up the US coordination with the SDF, and suggests that there is substantially more SDF capability that they intend to create going forward. That isn’t to say it doesn’t leave open some questions, however.

Even if this is the ultimate plan for taking Syria’s oil, it is not clear what the timeline is for removing the rest of the troops. If this is the endgame scenario, presumably having the SDF protect the oil frees up US troops to leave.

It’s also not clear what all of this is going to cost. The Syrian oil is fairly minimal, and the revenue will be low, so the US is probably going to have to subsidize the occupation above and beyond that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.