https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-deir-zor/u-s-backed-forces-capture-big-gas-field-in-syrias-deir-al-zor-senior-commander-idUSKCN1BY0H6?il=0

U.S.-backed coalition forces fighting to oust ISIS in Syria have recaptured their first oil/gas field from the terrorist organization. In the last three weeks much fighting has been going on between the U.S. led-coalition forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the regime backed Russian and Iranian forces fighting against ISIS strongholds in the region. ISIS forces have been largely eradicated in the country, yet some¬†highly contested areas remain up for grabs for their strategic and oil rich value. The United States maintains that it has no interest in “land-grabbing’ in the area of Deir al-Zor where this gas field was taken.

Analysis: In the past few weeks, coalition forces have clashed with Russian pro-Assad regime forces and tensions have been high as these forces get closer and closer to each other and continue to push out ISIS. Both Russia and Iran stand to gain economic and strategic advantages if they are able to take control of such valuable areas in Syria. And the U.S. would gain if this were not to happen. From a security standpoint, there are concerns that each side fears the other stepping on each other’s toes and that an “accidental” clash may occur. Russia has stated clearly that any clash with coalition forces would spell bad news for relations between the U.S. and Moscow. Each side maintains the they are doing al they can to communicate clearly with the other to avoid any mishaps, but just two weeks ago Russian forces injured 6 SDF militia men in airstrikes the the U.S. says they clearly denied permission for. It remains to be seen if the U.S. can (or will) pull out of Syria once the threat of ISIS is gone and which forces take over the region. President Trump maintains that U.S.s’ sole focus is to rid Syria of ISIS.

Sandra