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Syria Faces Blackout After Terrorists Attack Gas Pipeline

Power was cut across Syria on Monday after a major gas pipeline exploded in an incident described as a terrorist attack by Syria and attributed “almost certainly” to ISIS by the United States.

The Arab Gas Pipeline between the towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra, northwest of Syria’s capital of Damascus, exploded early on Monday local time, causing a massive blackout across the country.

The fires at the pipeline have been extinguished, the state news agency SANA reported later in the day, describing the blast as a result of a terrorist attack. Power was gradually being restored, according to SANA and to Syria’s Caretaker Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resource, Ali Ghanem.

According to Ghanem, the blast on the Arab gas pipeline resulted from a terrorist attack, and power stations were expected to be supplied with gas in the coming hours.  

Power has already been restored to some vital facilities such as hospitals in the capital Damascus, Caretaker Minister of Electricity, Mohammad Zuhair Kharbutli, told SANA.

Earlier in the day, Kharbutli told Syrian television that this was the sixth explosion on the pipeline in the region, SANA reported.

The United States is looking into the incident in Syria, but it is “almost certainly” an attack by Islamic State, said James Jeffrey, U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

“We are still looking into that. But it was almost certainly a strike by ISIS,” Jeffrey told reporters in Geneva, as carried by Reuters.

Islamic State had fought with U.S.-backed forces for control over oilfields in Syria’s oil-rich area, mostly in the Deir Ezzor province, but ISIS lost its last stronghold in the country early last year.

According to Jeffrey, ISIS activity is on an upsurge in Syria’s southeast desert area, Reuters reported.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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