23.11.2021 Author: Vladimir Danilov

Washington’s Neo-Colonial Policy in Syria


The use of armies and mercenaries to support colonial commercial projects has become the standard of US behavior. And this is particularly evident due to the actions of Washington in Syria. The US, supported by its army and its many thousands of private military companies (PMCs), continues to loot the country, its energy resources, artifacts, and any property of the SAR. Demonstrating its colonial rights, trying to dictate who they allow contact with the official authorities in Damascus. The attempt of the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to limit his partnership with Syria on November 13, expressing concern about the recent increase of visits of foreign delegations to Damascus and warnings to American allies against trying to normalize relations with the Syrian authorities, is clear evidence of this.

As for the US PMCs, led by the US, operating in Syria under the umbrella of an international coalition against terrorism, they are currently busy looting Syria’s oil resources, most of it concentrated in the east of the country, where the largest Syrian oil fields are located: The Conoco, al-Omar, and al-Tanak oil fields are located on the left bank of the Euphrates, in an area controlled by the pro-American coalition Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). US Kurdish allies are also actively involved in smuggling oil from Syria, and in exchange, the Americans supply them with weapons.

The activities of American PMCs are a smuggling business taken by Washington from DAESH (a terrorist group banned in Russia), which exacerbates the situation in the war-torn region. In doing so, the US is solving two problems, using the revenues from illegal oil sales to finance the militants loyal to them and inflaming anti-government sentiment by, among other things, bribing the sheiks of unruly Arab tribes, which is getting worse since the tribes are extremely displeased with the Kurdish-American occupation power in eastern Syria. At the same time, they are bleeding the Syrian economy by maintaining a fuel crisis in the oil-producing country.

Although recently the number of US troops operating abroad has officially declined, the ratio between the number of PMCs and official soldiers in the conflict zones has increased to three to one. Particularly now in demand in Washington are contractors from companies such as Six3 Intelligence Solutions. Blackwater, which became gained notoriety worldwide in 2007 when its squad killed 17 civilians in Baghdad.

For the authorities in Washington, who are constantly fighting wars abroad, the use of private military companies has been a real boon, as their use avoids public outrage in the United States because how many of them die on the battlefields is virtually unknown. In addition, most of the employees of American PMCs are not Americans at all. In Afghanistan, for example, only about a third of the PMC employees are US citizens. In Syria, a significant number of them are Kurds. Further, and importantly, private status protects PMCs from the US Freedom of Information Act.

After the tribal entities in eastern Syria nearly launched a full-scale revolt against Kurdish authority, the Americans gradually withdrew crucial oil fields from Kurdish control, no longer fully trusting their allies in Syria. After all, many Kurdish groups sell oil across the Euphrates on their own, including buyers with ties to Damascus, and when caught in the act, they blame the local Arab population. And the US PMCs, seeking to maximize profits from staying in Syria under the umbrella of the US coalition, also peddle oil from the western part of the Syrian Arab Republic through local smugglers. However, they primarily seek to direct the flow to Iraq and Turkey, to intensify the crisis in the fuel market in Syria.

In general, however, private military companies operate almost universally in US control in Syria. But it is challenging to say their exact numbers because they often move around in US control zones in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, working, among other things, at military bases, maintaining and transporting equipment from Iraqi territory to Syrian territory. In addition, PMC personnel are also involved in the al-Tanf area, where they are engaged in support operations at the border, shuttling between the territories of Syria and Jordan.

By supporting the predatory neo-colonial policy of the US in Syria, where the US military remains illegally, stated many times by official representatives of Syria, including the UN podium. Washington actively joins PMCs in the regular illegal removal of hundreds of oil tankers from the Syrian Republic. Thus, a giant convoy of stolen Syrian oil was spotted on November 8 in Kurdish-controlled territory, which stretched for several kilometers. Evidence captured by a drone, Syrians spotted a long convoy of oil tankers in Qamishli heading east into Iraq. Earlier, another convoy of 40 trucks was spotted, presumably carrying weapons for the Kurdish SDF units.

As for the US, humanitarian work in Syria is entirely neglected and is fully in line with its neo-colonial policy.  So, if in 2021, thanks to the joint efforts of the Syrian Government and the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the warring parties in the territory controlled by official Damascus, 26 refugee camps were closed and about 1,300 people received new housing in different provinces of the country. The situation in the US-controlled Syrian territories can be characterized only as hell.

In particular, the Al-Hol, Arisha, Al-Mabrouka refugee camps in the US-occupied and Kurdish-controlled autonomous administration of the north and east, where tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian citizens are being held, continue to operate. According to the UN, the situation in Al Hol camp in northeast Syria, where some 63,000 people live, is extremely tense, with no tangible progress in resolving the return of refugees to their places of origin. The situation is similar in the Al-Rukban refugee camp. According to James Jeffrey, the US Special Representative for Syria, the US has no intention of providing food or medical supplies for the people detained in the Al-Rukban refugee camp, blatantly demonstrating its racist policies. The Washington-backed autonomous administration of northeastern Syria is not rebuilding civilian infrastructure and war-damaged housing. As a consequence, at least 150,000 people are unable to return to their former places of residence. Attempts by refugees to leave the camps for the displaced have been suppressed by strong-arm tactics.

However, despite Washington’s desperate attempts to establish its dominance in Syria, today, everyone, including the American media, already understands that the US has already lost in Syria! Therefore, it is not surprising that regional media outlets are increasingly reporting how the Syrian army and popular militias are stopping US military convoys from patrolling through the country, especially with stolen Syrian oil. One such incident, in particular, occurred on November 11 at the entrance to Qamishli. As a result, the Americans are forced to turn back. Very soon, they will be forced by the people of Syria to leave the Arabian country altogether, following Washington’s recent version of the panic flight from Afghanistan.

Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.