Selin ATAY-TDO- The Syrian government on Sunday condemned an agreement between Kurdish-led forces in the country's northeast and a U.S. oil company, considering it as "theft" and an "affront to national sovereignty".
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday what he considered as a "very powerful" deal penned between a U.S. firm and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led paramilitary alliance, backs a semi-autonomous administration in northeastern Syria and controls the country's biggest oilfields, which are still claimed by Damascus.
The Syrian foreign ministry statement, published on state media, said the oil deal was set “to steal Syrian oil... supported by the U.S. administration." The statement condemns "an agreement between... thieves who steal and thieves who buy".
It also decried "the hostile U.S. position towards Syria, the theft of the Syrian people's riches and its hindrance of the state's reconstruction efforts".
The statement came days after senator Lindsey Graham who is a longtime supporter of the Syrian Kurds, told a congressional hearing on Thursday that he had spoken about the deal with Syrian Democratic Forces Commander General Mazloum Abdi.
"Apparently they've signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria," senator Lindsey Graham said.
Asked by Graham if the US was supportive of the deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answered: "We are."
"The deal took a little longer, senator, than we had hoped and we're now in implementation. It can be very powerful," Pompeo added.