Nepal | October 20, 2020

Syria says US sanctions behind acute fuel crisis

Share Now:

AMMAN: Syria is experiencing worsening gasoline shortages as a result of tougher US sanctions disrupting crucial fuel imports, its oil minister said on Wednesday, the latest crisis to hit the war-devastated country’s crumbling economy.

The Caesar Act – the toughest US sanctions which came into force last June prohibiting foreign companies trading with Damascus – had disrupted several imported shipments from undisclosed suppliers, Bassam Touma told state television.

“The tightening of the American siege and their barring of imports from arriving forced us to reduce distribution of gasoline by 35%,” Touma said.Residents say there have been acute shortages in the capital and main cities, where long queues have been building at petrol stations in the last week.

The fuel shortages come with the country in the throes of an economic crisis, amid a collapsing currency and inflation sky-rocketing, aggravating hardships for ordinary Syrians battered by years of war.

The government has limited private vehicles to 30 litres of gasoline every four days, with residents saying hundreds of motorists wait for hours before gas stations are opened.

Oil production collapsed after Damascus lost most of its oil producing fields in a stretch east of the Euphrates River in Deir al-Zor.

These oil fields are now in the hands of US backed Syrian Kurds, who continue to sell part of the oil to Damascus.

Syria had previously relied on Iranian oil shipments but tightening sanctions on Iran, Syria and their allies have dried up supplies in the past year.

The shortages were worsened by major maintenance at the Baniyas refinery, the country’s largest, which supplied two-thirds of the country’s gasoline needs, Touma said.

Touma said once unavoidable maintenance work at the 130,000 barrel per day capacity refinery had been completed in the next 10 days, capacity would rise by 25%. Shipments from several undisclosed sources would also help ease the crisis later this month, he added.

Oil traders say oil imports through Beirut port, a major conduit, have also been disrupted in the wake of a major explosion last August.

Washington has long accused Syria of smuggling oil through Lebanon across a porous border area where Damascus’s ally Iranian-backed Hezbollah holds sway.

A shortfall in foreign currency had also forced Damascus to import less fuel in the last two months, further worsening supplies, two traders said.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepalaya releases Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'

KATHMANDU: Nepalaya book publication house has released Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'. Issuing a press statement, the publication house said, Nepal's Former President Dr Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the book amid special ceremony in Kathmandu, on Saturday. The book chr Read More...

Murder suspects held after 11 years

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 18 The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has apprehended two persons, who were accused of murdering one of their fellow workers, 11 years after they allegedly committed the crime. The murder suspects have been identified as Bhimsen Ghaga Magar, 51, and Ram Krishna Read More...

Protocol for disposal of COVID dead changed

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 18 The Ministry of Health and Population has amended its Dead Body Management Protocol mandating family members to cremate or bury the bodies of those family members that die of COVID-19 at home. Until now, government authorities, particularly the District COVID Crisis Manag Read More...

Missing ASI’s body found in Mohana River

DHANGADI, OCTOBER 18 ASI Govind BK, in-charge at Jugeda Temporary Police Post in Dhangadi Sub-metropolitan City, Kailali, was found dead today. His body was recovered from the Mohana River. BK had gone missing since last night. According to police, BK has received a deep cut on his neck. Polic Read More...

Kuse Danda, a new tourist spot in Ilam

ITAHARI, OCTOBER 18 Ilam has added a new destination to its list of dozens of popular tourist destinations. Kuse Danda, a picture-perfect hillock located at Chulachuli Rural Municipality, has become the latest attraction in the southern belt of Ilam. A local writer, Bibas Balibhadra Koirala Read More...

Doing beauty contests differently: Focus on leadership, empowerment

I have never been a fan of beauty contests. I always found them to be too frivolous and empty of real content although, to be fair, the contestants have to demonstrate, through the selection, a certain degree of understanding of the society, its dynamics and key issues of national interest. It is Read More...

Pandemic and oral health

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic specifically poses a challenge to the health system and health professionals worldwide. Should anyone fall sick, there is no way to go to a health service provider for a regular checkup or medicine. Oral health is a part of the health system, but people are Read More...

One Covid-19 related fatality reported in BPKIHS on Monday

KATHMANDU: The Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) reported a new Covid-19 related fatality on Monday morning. The 78-year-old male from Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City-20 of Sunsari district succumbed to coronavirus infection at 3:05 am today while undergoing treatment at Read More...