With immense human tragedy continuously on display in Syria for the better part of the last decade, the relevance of the country’s hydrocarbons sector – short of the occasional conspiracy theory – has fallen by the wayside. Even today, with combat at a lull, power politics and military strategy remain the primary concern of analysts and policymakers alike.

The conflict likely has at least one more act to play out. A tepid Russia-Turkey brokered ceasefire is the only thing preventing an arguably inevitable bloodbath in rebel-held Idlib, and though the Islamic State is routed, the US-backed (mostly Kurdish) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold almost all of the territory east of the Euphrates river (see map). (CONTINUED - 1860 WORDS)