U.S. President Donald Trump said during a cabinet meeting in the White House in front of reports on Wednesday the United States wants to protect the [Syrian] Kurds as Washington draws down troops.
The president said he had never set timetable for the withdrawal of American troops stationed in Syria. He declined to be specific about how long troops would remain in Syria.
During the meeting, the president explained he was not happy that “the Kurds” were selling oil to Iran.
“Kurdish people, it’s very interesting, Turkey doesn’t like them. Other people do… I didn’t like the fact that they’re selling the small amount of oil that they have to Iran, and we asked them not to sell it to Iran… We’re not thrilled about that. Ok? I’m not happy about it… We want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless. We want to protect the Kurds,” he said .
Officials in the Self-Administration of North and East Syria responded to the statement on selling oil to Iran, emphasizing that they currently don’t have the means to produce sufficient amounts of oil for trading with abroad.
“As a result of the war and instability in the country, we currently don’t have the means and the infrastructure to produce a big amount of oil that is sufficient to sell in foreign markets; the amount of extracted oil is barely sufficient to meet the needs of our population in the region,” said the co-president of the department of oil resources in the self-administration, Saad Assaf.
“Geographically, we don’t have borders with Iran, it’s not possible to trade with Iran. Moreover, there is no Iranian or non-Iranian oil companies in our region, there is currently no company doing the work of extraction,” Assaf added.
The spokesman of the Self-Administration, Luqman Ahmad, also stated to the local media in north Syria:
“The sell of oil and other natural resources “illegally” to a foreign country during the war is a crime, we would not do it. To this day we have no plans of selling oil to foreign countries. It’s possible that the president Trump has received false information. We don’t have any borders with Iran, neither trading agreements”
Media Office, The Hague