Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WHY DON’T THE RUSSIAN TROOPS IN SYRIA AID ASSAD IN TAKING BACK THE OIL FIELDS HELD BY THE US MILITARY?
Russia started immediately in its quest to restore the Syrian oil to its rightful owners by issuing a statement, via foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, that the US seizure of the oil fields is banditry.
Meanwhile the US has warned that it will destroy any forces that try to seize the oil from it. That is an unusual warning, although it may be another bluff. One reason to take it serious, trhough, is that Deir Ezzor, home of the biggest oil reserves in the country, is where the US armed forces murdered Russian mercenaries advancing on its illegal base there. Before that, in the Obama administration, the US air force had murdered Syrian army troops in the same area. The US obviously is really serious about keeping this oil. [Added after posting at Quora: And not without reason: Trump had been gambling on US shale oil as a means to revive the US economy, and, after investors lost billions, it turned out to be a bust, as NSS had reported here.]
Regarding this latest announcement of US intentions to steal the oil, A Russian military expert said at iafan.ru (my translation):
“I think that Syria will turn to the United Nations; the UN, of course, will meet and try to resolve these issues - however, the Americans, as always, block any resolutions, calling on the NATO countries for help.
All this will continue in slow motion until some major military clash takes place east of the Euphrates - US ground forces may clash with the armed forces of Syria or Iran. This territory will become the zone of a new conflict situation. ”
This expert may well be right about the UN, but all crises of this kind have always been resolved by Russia leading from a position of strength. This pattern started when Trump had threatened in 2018 to launch a third missile strike on Syria and Russia warned that if a US or allied missile struck any Russian assets or personnel, Russia reserved the right to destroy the naval ship whence the missile came. There were no further missile strikes after that.
Then when Trump threatened to invade Venezuela, Russia landed several military planes there and sent some advisers. Predictably, there was no US invasion – though several more threats ensued.
Then Trump surprised the world with a weird tale of having planned a strike on Iran but calling it off at the last minute. It was hardly believable because in the past, all US strikes were preceded by warnings, while this one was not. Wasn’t it really just political theatre?
Then even after the US blamed a Houthi strike on Saudi Aramco on Iran, Trump pretended to be awaiting “instructions” from Saudi Arabia before striking, but never struck. The whole US government has known for some time that Russia is actually standing in the way of any invasion or attack by the US against any of Russia’s partners. Whenever any crisis occurs, the US issues loud blustery warnings and then does nothing, with the exception of virtually ineffective sanctions (because Russia and China continue to buy Venezuelan and Iranian oil on the QT.
Generally, there is in each case some indication that the Russians are up to something either overtly or in the background.
So what are they up to this time?
The answer was not long in coming.
As I was drafting this response, I received an automatic alert from Al Masdar News with the headline: “Russia’s S-500 to enter service ‘soon’ to combat US F-35.”
This is analogous to Russia’s delivery of the S-300 system to the Syrian forces following the crash of a Russian Il-20 due to Israeli skulduggery. The delivery was accompanied by a Russian MoD warning that any aircraft invading Syria from the east would have its on board instruments and navigation system blocked by the Russian EW system.
Consequent to this turn of events, Israel held off on attacking so-called “Iranian” targets in Syria and stopped sending aircraft into Syrian air space (in a recent interview, Assad said that Israel had been attacking Syrian forces in southern Syria for years).
I mention all this because the S-500 air defence system is rumoured to be capable of detecting so-called “stealth” aircraft like the US F-35 and shooting them down at an unprecedented long distance. Whether or not this rumour eventually turns out to be true, the US will definitely be wary of it because US media, including the National Interest, has already reported on this rumour and has struck fear in the hearts of Pentagon officials.
This alert was followed closely by another report by Al Masdar that the Iranian IRGC (Islamic Revolution Guard Corps) troops are soon to be armed with high-precision missiles and drones.
Iran is known to be working on highly advanced missile and other weapons systems and these precision arms are no doubt part of the reason the US and Israel have not yet screwed up the nerve to make good on their loud promises to attack Iran.
If the old pattern repeats itself, the US will resume its bluffing and posturing and then, hopefully do nothing, as usual.
Of course, there are never any reliable assurances in geopolitics and war, and a black swan event could set fire to the Middle East once again.
Finally, though, the question is still how does Russia prevent the US from continuing its oil theft in Deir Ezzor province?
One promising option is to simply take control of all the routes by which the oil could be transported out of the country. The combined Syrian and Russian forces would probably deter the thieves along the transport route through the creation of patrols.
Of course, the attack on Saudi Aramco shows that an actor other than Russia or Syria could get involved and, at least theoretically, fire missiles at the US base in Deir Ezzor. Would the US escalate a conflict this close to elections? Trump knows that dragging the US into a hot war at this point could spoil is plans for re-election. Thus, an attack on the US base at Deir Ezzor could be off the table in the real world, though perhaps not in the arena of political bluster.