KABUL- US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that the US might leave some troops in the area of oil fields in northeastern Syria, where the Syrian democratic forces are located, to prevent oil from falling into the hands of the Islamic State or other groups.
According to the head of the Pentagon, this option is discussed, but the decision has not yet been made.
“We currently have troops in a couple of cities that are near this area. The goal is to block access, and especially access to sources of income, to the Islamic State and other groups that may want to gain such access for their malicious actions,” Esper told reporters in Afghanistan.
“There was a discussion about keeping part of the troops, but no decision was made on the number and other similar points,” he added.
Esper noted that although the withdrawal of troops from northeastern Syria is already underway, some of the militaries are still in the area of oil fields along with the Kurdish-led Syrian democratic forces. According to him, the possibility of keeping part of the troops there is being discussed.
Esper said he has not yet presented such an option, but noted that the Pentagon should consider different options.