In confirmation of the Pentagon announcement Friday saying American troops and mechanized units would deploy to "secure" the oil-producing area of Syria, despite Trump's much touted and debated "withdrawal," multiple local videos have appeared online early Saturday showing large American convoys headed back to the region they only days ago departed.
A new convoy American forces entered N. Syria passed through Qamishlo short while ago today. pic.twitter.com/0AwYIEqmYs— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) October 26, 2019
Though Defense Secretary Mark Esper in statements Friday did not divulge details in terms of numbers, it's expected that at least several hundred troops will deploy to the major oil fields east of the Euphrates river, especially the Kurdish SDF-held al-Omar field, the country's largest.
It's also been confirmed through local correspondents and footage that new convoys apparently re-entered Syria from Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG areas) beginning on Friday and into Saturday, and were accompanied by multiple Apache attack helicopters and possibly drones.
Among the photographs published in Kurdish media of the new convoy are images of the armored column passing near oil fields in eastern Syria.
One US military convoy reportedly entered Syria through the KRG’s Semelka border crossing.
A pair of #USArmy AH-64E helicopters, a single US Drone and two #USAF's F-15Es are protecting the convoy of #US Special Forces in #DeirEzzor.— DoC© (@DocPakistan) October 26, 2019
Their mission is to protect illegal Oil smuggling in #Syria, including occupying #Syria's Oilfields 👇 pic.twitter.com/RwzClRlEpA
We noted previously that any mission to "protect the oil fields" would require significant air support, given that US troops will be occupying a small island of valuable resources while surrounded by hostile powers.
The @Coalition helicopters fly intensively over the whole region to protect the convoy that entered N/ #Syria today to implement the latest agreement regarding the oil and protection of the region. pic.twitter.com/tE8KoHj3Rf— Omar Abu Layla (@AliAlleile) October 26, 2019
Thus far no evidence has emerged that tanks are among the columns now re-entering Syria, after Esper told told reporters at a briefing. “We are reinforcing that position, it will include some mechanized forces.”
#BREAKING: A pair of #USArmy AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters, a single MQ-1C UCAV and two #USAF's F-15Es of 389th FS, 366th FW are protecting the convoy of #US Special Forces in #DeirEzzor. Their mission is to protect #US interests in #Syria including #Syria's Oilfields 👇 pic.twitter.com/DmbvFHXjog— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) October 26, 2019
According to details previously obtained by the WSJ , the plan is likely to include some 500 troops stationed at the major oil fields, and sending dozens of battle tanks and other equipment to protect them.
So it ultimately appears that after Trump's early Friday declaration that "Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then...COMING HOME!" ...the reality is that perhaps merely some troops are actually coming home, while additional troops, helicopters, and mechanized convoys are moving in.
This also increases the likelihood of additional forces and air patrols being required in the near future as necessary reinforcements to protect the small American contingency now going back in to "protect" the oil fields, especially should they come under threat or attack by the various actors now competing for territory in the northeast.
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Now with video confirmation of US troops going back to Syria after merely days ago they were filmed headed out (toward Iraq), it's safe to say we've once again witnessed a complete 180 degree reversal of foreign policy.