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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's foreign ministry said on Sunday that an American oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at "stealing" Syria's crude.

A ministry statement, published on state media, did not name the firm involved in the deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance that seized swathes of north and east Syria from Islamic State with U.

S. help.

The statement did not give details on the agreement. There was no immediate response from SDF officials to a Reuters' request for comment. There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials.

Damascus "condemns in the strongest terms the agreement signed between al-Qasd militia (SDF) and an American oil company to steal Syria's oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration", the statement said.

"This agreement is null and void and has no legal basis," it said, adding that it was a violation of Syrian sovereignty.

Syria produced around 380,000 barrels of oil per day before a civil war erupted following a crackdown on protests in 2011, with Iran and Russia backing President Bashar al-Assad's government and the United States supporting the opposition.

Damascus lost control of most oil producing fields in a stretch east of the Euphrates River in Deir al-Zor. Western sanctions have also hit the energy industry.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that despite a military pullback from northeast Syria, a small number of American forces would remain "where they have oil". The Pentagon said late last year that oilfield revenues would go to the SDF.

(Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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TCL’s new $650 6-series 4K TV has Mini-LED backlighting and supports 120Hz gaming

TCL introduced its new lineup of midrange 5- and 6-series 4K TVs for 2020. Like previous years, they pack in a lot of value, with good design, four HDMI ports, and built-in Roku software that might eliminate the need to buy a streaming device. Importantly, they also pack in complete support for HDR standards, so you won’t be left out of the next HDR-enabled Super Bowl game, whenever that will be. It features what TCL calls the “HDR Pro Pack”, with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG. What warrants most of your attention, though, are the premium features, like contrast-rich QLED screens and accurate Mini-LED backlighting, that have slid down the pricing scale and are much more affordable.

At the low end, the 50-inch 5-series TV (model 50S535) costs $400 and has a QLED screen, a 60Hz refresh rate panel, and 40 local dimming zones. It’s definitely not the option you want if you crave the most cinematic experience or one that’s suited for fast-paced gaming, but a $400 QLED TV? That’s great. TCL’s new 5-series is also available in a $450 55-inch model and $630 65-inch model, each with a slight bump up in local dimming zones to 48 and 56, respectively.

The new 6-series model.Image: TCL

TCL’s new 6-series has QLED, too, but more notably, it has Mini-LED backlighting, which was one of the main selling points of the high-end 8-series model from last year that rarely dropped below $1,000. With Mini-LED backlighting, there’s a huge boost in local dimming zones, so you won’t notice splotchy parts of the screen as much when you’re watching something that’s dark and atmospheric. What’s more, each 6-series TV supports variable refresh rate with support up to 120Hz, which you’ll want if you plan on connecting a PS5 or an Xbox Series X when they come out later this year.

To that end, TCL says the 6-series is the first TV to feature THX Certified Game Mode, which promises to thrill gamers “without any compromise in ultra-low-latency gaming.” This model starts at $650 for the 55-inch version, going up to $900 for the 65-inch TV, and finally, $1,400 for the biggest 75-inch model.

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