By Aamer Madhani/Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Press, October 2019

As Russian and Turkish leaders divvy up security roles in northeast Syria following an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal, President Donald Trump is focused on oil fields elsewhere in the war-torn country.

Trump spurred a fresh wave of criticism Thursday with a tweet noting that he had spoken with Syrian Kurdish military chief Mazloum Abdi and observing that perhaps “it is time for Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region,” an apparent reference to oil fields in Deir el-Zour province of Syria. That’s an area that U.S. military commanders see as critical to holding off an Islamic State resurgence in the region.

But even as Trump heralded his push to pull nearly all U.S. troops out of what he derided as the “blood-stained sands” of Syria, he’s repeatedly referred to the country’s oil fields as prized land that he’s intent on protecting.

“We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said Wednesday while discussing the pullout of all but 200 to 300 U.S. troops in Syria. “And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

White House officials did not respond to requests for greater clarity about Trump’s tweet suggesting Kurds head to the oil region.

Read the rest of the story via Military Times