Syria has condemned the US' move to allow foreign investment in the Arab country's northern areas that are under the control of militants from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On Thursday, the US Treasury Department approved activities in 12 sectors including agriculture, construction, and finance, in northern Syria but made clear that it did not permit any transactions with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or those designated under the so-called Caesar Act.
In a statement on Friday, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said, “The US Treasury Department’s approval of economic activities in the northeastern and northwestern flanks of Syria is no surprise to the Damascus government, as successive US administrations are responsible for the devastating war which Syria has gone through for more than a decade."
The ministry said Washington’s financial aids to Takfiri terrorist groups have wrecked havoc across the northern Syria and ruined the Arab country’s economic prospects.
Such aids also resulted in the plunder of Syria's crude oil reserves, foodstuff and historical monuments, destruction of its economic infrastructure and murders of many innocent citizens who refused to collaborate with American and Western schemes, it added.
The latest US' plan “is in continuation of Washington’s destructive approach towards our country, and runs contrary to its international commitments concerning fight against terrorism, and respect to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry noted.
“The breakup of Syria was a US and Western scenario, which dismally failed in the face of the steadfastness of the Syrian army, nation and government,” the ministry pointed out.
The statement concluded by emphasizing that the Damascus government is determined to employ all available means in order to thwart the new conspiracy, calling on local residents in northern Syria to join forces.
Meanwhile, US officials stressed that Washington's move should not be seen as helpful to efforts by some countries for Syria’s return to the Arab fold. They reiterated that Washington had no intention of lifting sanctions on the Damascus government.
“Private sector investment in these areas will help reduce the likelihood of ISIS (Daesh) resurgence by combating the desperate conditions that enable the terrorist groups’ recruitment and support network,” a senior US administration official said on condition of anonymity.
Syrian govt. forces, locals block US convoy in oil-rich Hasakah
Amid smoldering public resentment over the presence of American occupation troops in northeastern Syria, local residents of several neighboring villages in the oil-rich province of Hasakah have joined forces with government troops to block a US military convoy attempting to pass through the community.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that a US convoy of five armored vehicles was forced to turn around and head back in the direction it came from on Friday afternoon after locals of the villages of Salehiyah Harb, Misherfah and Tal Dhahab as well as Syrian troops blocked the road and prevented its movement. No injuries were reported.
The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists. Damascus says the deployment is meant to plunder the country's resources.
Former US president Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in Syria for its oil.
After failing to oust the Syrian government through proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has stepped up its economic war on the Arab country.
In June 2020, the US enacted the so-called Caesar Act that imposed the toughest sanctions ever on Syria with the alleged aim of choking off revenue sources for the government.
The sanctions, however, have crippled the war-torn country’s economy by prohibiting foreign companies from trading with Damascus.
Syria says the real purpose of the measures is to put pressure on Syrians and their livelihoods.
Officials also say the stepped-up smuggling of strategic Syrian resources is the latest inhumane tactic using people's basic needs as a tool to pressure the government.