JERUSALEM, Israel - The Pentagon on Thursday announced that American soldiers are working "shoulder to shoulder" with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria to protect the oil fields from an attack by ISIS.
"The mission is the defeat of ISIS. The securing of the oil fields is a subordinate task to that mission. And the purpose of that task is to deny ISIS the revenues from that oil infrastructure," Vice Director of Joint Staff Adm. William Byrne said during a press briefing.
Byrne explained that when ISIS was at the height of its power in 2015, it controlled the oil fields, which were pumping out "45,000 barrels per day to the tune of $1.5 million a day to support their operations."
"That said, it's the SDF and the US forces shoulder to shoulder protecting that to ensure that ISIS doesn't have access to and revenue of the revenues," he explained.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman also clarified that the money coming from the oil fields will go directly to the Kurds to assist them in their fight against ISIS.
"The revenue from this is not going to the US. This is going to the SDF," he said.
Turkey is in the fifth week of its invasion into northeast Syria to establish a "safe zone" completely free of Kurds. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence.
President Donald Trump all American troops out of Syria last month to allow Ankara to invade. However, he later decided to keep a small force in northeast Syria to protect the oil infrastructure there.