Trump said recently about the oil fields in the Kurdish controlled area of Syria:

We’ve secured the oil. If you remember, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. I was a civilian, so I had no power over it. But I always was speaking against going into Iraq. It was not a great decision. But I always said, “If you’re going in, keep the oil.” Same thing here: Keep the oil. We want to keep the oil.

And we’ll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, they have some cash flow. Maybe we’ll get one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly. But they’ll have some cash flow, which they basically don’t have right now. Everybody is fighting. It’s not a big oil area, but everybody is fighting for whatever there is. So we have a lot of good things going over there, and they’re going very well.

Leaving aside the Trump speculation/hope about the future relationship of US companies with the oil fields in Syria, were US companies involved insofar in exploiting those fields in Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria? If so, to what extent?

I'm interested in what happened after the Kurds took over the fields from ISIS. ISIS was able to operate al-Tanak for example, which apparently was their most significant source of oil in 2015. Al-Tanak was captured by the Kurds/SDF in 2017. Al-Tanak is in Deir el-Zour province, and now reportedly under US control. Basically, did the US help the Kurds operate the oil fields they captured?

  • 2
    I'm not sure any company from the US or EU could legally be operating there, what with the sanctions in place for nearly a decade now. Or are more you interested in the period before that?
    – Geobits
    Oct 25, 2019 at 15:42
  • The Wikipedia article is outdated (There is a map of fields and pipelines). I can't find which fields are currently being operated or where the oil is going. The legalities (if anyone cares) of sending in US companies would be problematic. Oct 25, 2019 at 15:44
  • The Russians claim they bombed ISIS oil trucks heading to Turkey. And supposedly shutting down that trade and a major income of ISIS. Which the Americans supposedly did nothing to stop. Oct 25, 2019 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


Mention of US companies is conspicuously absent from the Wikipedia article on Syria's oil industry. The few European companies that were previously operating in Syria have stopped due to sanctions. And even though Russia alleges that the US is involved in theft of Syrian oil it doesn't seem to be suggesting US oil companies are part of this.


It seem that the Kurds had struck an [implicit] agreement with Assad to have regime engineers help with the oil fields (this was reported in May 2018, so well before the US withdrawal):

Though the Syrian government has claimed they plan to reclaim the oil fields, for the time being it seems an unspoken agreement is in play as many government oil company employees have returned to work and are being remunerated appropriately by the regime. A large amount of the oil produced by the Kurds is being sold to the Syrian regime as well.

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