President Donald Trump has approved a mission for US troops to return to Syria to "secure" its oil fields, despite promises to withdraw all forces from the war-torn country.
Under Mr Trump’s new plan, troops would protect a large swath of land controlled by Syrian Kurdish fighters that stretches nearly 90 miles of the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor in the east.
The Pentagon will not say how many of the some 2,000 forces it once had in Syria would remain, however officials have suggested the total number could reach as many as 800.
Mr Trump had announced the US was withdrawing all troops early last month, paving the way for a Turkish offensive on Kurdish forces in north-east Syria.
He later declared in a speech that the US was done fighting “endless wars” in the region's “blood-soaked sands”.
However, in the face of pressure the president appears to have ridden back on his promise.
Experts say the return of troops is unlikely to only concern oil, as Mr Trump has stated. The output from the fields is limited, with little export opportunity for the US.
Reports suggest national security hawks seized on the oil as a way of capturing Mr Trump’s attention and convincing him to keep some US forces in Syria to help support their Kurdish partners as well as for leverage.
The oil fields are currently under the control of fighters with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however the Bashar al-Assad government would like to see it return under its control.
Source: The Telegraph.