Turkey's Erdogan asks Putin to jointly manage oil fields in Syria's Deir al-Zor

Reuters , Tuesday 10 Mar 2020

Erdogan & Putin
File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia March 5, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said he asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to jointly manage oil fields in eastern Syria's Deir al-Zor region, in place of the Kurdish-led forces which control them now.

"I made the offer to Mr. Putin that if he gives financial support, we can do the construction and through the oil obtained here, we can help destroyed Syria get on its feet," Erdogan told reporters aboard his plane back from talks in Brussels.

Erdogan said Putin was evaluating the offer, which the Turkish president said he made during talks in Moscow last week, adding that he could make the same offer to U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Instead of terrorists benefitting here, we would have the opportunity to rebuild Syria from the revenues of this (oil field). This will also show who's after protecting Syria's unity and who's after seizing it," Erdogan said.

Deir al-Zor province lies to the south of a 30-km deep border zone which Turkish troops captured in October from the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey says is a terrorist group threatening its security. The U.S.-backed YPG controls most of Syria's eastern oil regions.

Russia accuses Washington of trying to separate eastern Syrian territories to create an illegal quasi-state there.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew some American troops from Syria, saying that remaining United States forces would be protecting oil fields in eastern Syria.

Trump said in October that the United States "should be able to take some," adding: "What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly."

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