To the consternation of the West, Iran and Russia have increasingly turned from assisting Assad's military effort to aiding Syria as it struggles to survive sanctions and a collapsing economy.
At a moment US special forces still occupy the bulk of oil and gas fields in northeast Syria, also in support of the Kurdish-led SDF, Damascus has ramped up efforts at busting past US lines with Russia's help. It should be underscored that this is all happening within UN-recognized Syrian sovereign territory.
"On Saturday, more than two thousand oil tanks coming from the Syrian coast, arrived in Al-Qamishli to help the citizens in northeastern Syria," Beirut-based war monitor al-Masdar News reports.
Iranian oil has been supplying the country via the second largest port city of Tartous, after last year a national fuel shortage resulted in sometimes miles-long lines at gas stations, amid the broader economic crisis, which is currently witnessing runaway inflation.
RT Arabic published footage of a large oil convoy as it traveled along the M-4 Highway to make deliveries from a coastal refinery to al-Qamishli, very near US-occupied territory where American and Russian troops have squared off lately.
RT Arabic reported drivers in the convoy as saying: “the U.S. Caesar sanctions have not been imposed on the oil and gas sector yet,” according to a translation.
Another added that “the results will be disastrous for the Syrian people if these sanctions are applied to the energy sector.”
Over the past months there's been multiple incidents at checkpoints in northeast Syria involving US and Russian/Syrian convoys in direct stand-offs.
The Caesar sanctions are expected to go into effect later this month, tightening the noose further on Syria's already war-ravaged and sanctioned population, made worse by the ongoing economic crisis in neighboring Lebanon.