April 16, 2019
Western sanctions on Damascus and U.S. sanctions on Tehran have led to serious fuel shortages in Syria, which announced measures April 14 to deal with long lines at the pumps.
Syrian authorities are seeking to “regulate the distribution at gas stations” and to ensure even deliveries across to country while “preventing waste and smuggling”, the official SANA news agency reported.
Syria’s government has faced a barrage of international sanctions since the conflict started in 2011, including measures impacting the import of petroleum-related products.
In Damascus, a city of five million, queues at petrol stations can take days.
One measure is to cut by half fuel distributes to government institutions. Bloomberg reports that Syria produces only a small part of its daily fuel needs, as most of its oil resources are outside government controlled areas.
The ministry of petrol and mineral resources in April temporarily slashed the daily cap on subsidized petrol by half, from 40 to 20 liters per vehicle.
On Sunday it blamed the crisis on “economic sanctions” that are targeting the energy sector and “preventing the arrival of oil tankers in Syria”, in comments on the ministry’s Facebook page.
Prime Minister Emad Khamis, quoted in local press, said Iranian tankers supplying Syria had been halted due to U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
Iran itself is in the grips of economic crisis partly due to U.S. sanctions and is now suffering from unprecedented floods, especially in its oil-producing region.
Oil tankers bound for Syria have been barred from using Egypt’s Suez Canal for six months, he added.
In recent months fuel and oil shortages have rocked government-held areas of Syria, a country that before the war enjoyed relative energy autonomy.
Authorities estimate that since 2011 Syria’s oil and gas sector has suffered some $74 billion in losses.
The UN estimates the conflict has caused some $400 billion in war-related destruction.