Addressing Syria’s fuel shortages is the aim of new measures adopted by Damascus on Sunday. President Bashar al-Assad’s government has blamed the shortages on strict Western sanctions on the war-torn country.
The government is seeking to “regulate the distribution at [stations” and to ensure even deliveries across to country while “preventing waste and smuggling,” the official SANA news agency reported.
The regime has faced a barrage of international sanctions since the conflict began in 2011, including measures impacting the import of petroleum-related products.
Among the new measures agreed Sunday, the government said it would halve the amount of fuel allocated to public institutions to run their vehicles, set up mobile distribution points and re-open closed stations, SANA said.
The Ministry of Petrol and Mineral Resources in April temporarily cut the daily cap on subsidized gasoline 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.
But it promised an easing of the crisis in the coming days.
Prime Minister Emad Khamis, quoted in the local press, said Iranian tankers supplying Syria had been halted due to American sanctions on Tehran.
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 country’s main oil fields are still outside the government’s control.
– with reporting by AFP