US President Donald Trump declared on January 22 that American forces had secured Syrian oil fields, speaking during a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We have the oil,” said Trump, as he sat next to Kurdistan Regional President Nechirvan Barzani. “We left soldiers for the oil, because we took the oil … we have it very nicely secured.”
Trump spoke following reports from Syria that US patrols may have blocked a Russian convoy from traveling along a road in northeast Syria. Local reports on January 21 indicated encounters took place in the vicinity of Rmelan, a center of Syrian oil production.
Storyful asked the US-led Coalition about recent encounters with Russia, including the one seen in the January 21 video. The Coalition responded with the following statement, attributable to spokesperson Col Myles B Caggins III: “In Syria, the Coalition deconflicts military operations with other regional forces, in order to keep our troops safe. We seek to deconflict our movements through pre-existing communication channels and interlocutors, in order to prevent unnecessary and unplanned military interactions, and de-escalate between forces when necessary.”
During the meeting with Barzani, Trump thanked the Iraqi-Kurdish leader for his efforts to secure the “so-called safe zone” in Syria. It was unclear if Trump mistook Barzani for a Syrian-Kurdish leader, as some commentators posited online. Credit: White House via Storyful