Syria's acute gas shortage is a stark sign of the daunting challenges the country will face in post-war reconstruction. A step up in economic sanctions imposed by the United States are partly responsible for the crisis.
Details: A Shout! News source in Damascus describes unprecedented scenes of cars and people waiting for petrol in lines spilling into the streets. The wait has been counted in days with drivers leaving their cars in the line at night to sleep and coming back to take their spot in the morning. This energy crisis is even worse than what the country experienced during the war, the source says.
The big picture: The U.S. dialed up its sanctions against Iran and the Syrian regime lost access to supply from the oil field captured from the Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
- The Trump administration aims to drive Iran's oil exports to zero by ending sanctions waivers on May 2. It also asked the Sissi government in Egypt to close the Suez Canal to Iranian oil tankers supplying Syria.
- Concurrently, the Syrian regime lost access to oil supplied by the Islamic State when the jihadist group lost access to oil field captured by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by American and coalition's airpower. It is unclear whether the SDF will resume supply to Damascus, which the U.S. will most likely oppose.
- The source in Damascus does not exclude the Syrian government's role in exacerbating the gas shortage, as a mean to enrich those close to the regime.
So far, Iran found a way around the increased economic sanctions by supplying oil from Iraq through trucks at the Baghouz border crossing, Shout! News learned. Freed from the Islamic State last month by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the village of Baghouz sits along the Euphrates River at the Iraqi border in eastern Syria. Iran is considering building a railroad on that supply route.
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org