According to a report from The Associated Press, the Biden administration has decided it will not renew a Trump-era waiver that allowed a US oil company to do business in northeast Syria, where the US has troops deployed.
In 2019, President Trump reversed his decision to pull out of Syria to “keep the oil.” Last year, the US company Delta Crescent Energy inked a deal with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to exploit the oil resources of northeast Syria.
Delta Crescent Energy was issued a waiver to do business in Syria by the Trump Administration in April 2020. An unnamed US official told AP that the Biden administration will not extend the waiver because the White House wants to distance itself from the idea that the US is in Syria only for the oil.
While Biden might not want to appear to be exploiting Syria’s oil fields, keeping the resources out of the hands of the Syrian government is part of the US’s strategy to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Crushing US economic sanctions are preventing the country from rebuilding after 10 years of brutal war, and controlling Syria’s oil adds to the pressure.
The years of war and now the US economic warfare against Syria has had a devastating impact on the civilian population. According to the UN, the number of Syrians that are close to starvation is 12.4 million, or 60 percent of the country’s population.