The U.S. forces have ramped up their operations to "steal Syrian national wealth," particularly oil and grains, the state news agency SANA said on Tuesday.
SANA accused U.S. forces of smuggling oil and grains out of the country through illegal crossings, saying they transported 160 tanks and tankers loaded with the stolen resources to Iraq in the past 24 hours.
Citing local sources in the northeastern province of al-Hasakah, the news agency said a convoy of 84 tanks carrying oil from the al-Hasakah fields crossed the al-Mahmoudiyah border point to U.S. bases in northern Iraq.
Another convoy of 76 tankers carrying wheat and barley from grain silos seized by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia, backed by the U.S., crossed the al-Walid border point to Iraq, SANA said.
The Syrian government denounced the U.S. operations as a violation of its sovereignty and an exploitation of its national wealth. Syria has been struggling with the impact of war, and the theft of its vital resources worsens its economic woes.
The government has repeatedly questioned the role of the U.S. forces in Syria, saying they violate international laws and norms.
Farhan Jamil Abdullah, head of the state-run Syrian Oil Company, said last July that U.S. sanctions and military presence in Syria had reduced oil production by his company from 385,000 barrels per day to 15,000 barrels and gas production from 30 million cubic meters per day to 10 million cubic meters.
He said the government had lost control of most of the energy fields because of the U.S. presence in oil-rich areas in northern and eastern Syria.
Syrian Oil Minister Firas Hassan Kaddour said last July that the U.S. presence in the country had caused economic losses of about $100 billion in its energy sector.
(Cover: A U.S. military vehicle runs past the Tal Tamr area in the countryside of Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, November 14, 2019. /Xinhua)