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Syrian Civilians Seize Oil Wells From Rebel Group

A large group of Syrian civilians took control over several oil wells in eastern Syria after clashes with rebel group Syrian Democratic Forces, Iranian Fars News reported today, citing information from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to the report, the rebel group, which comprises Kurdish and Arab fighters supported by the United States, had been hoarding fuel, refusing to supply it to communities in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez Zor, and as a result caused a spike in prices.

Deir ez Zor is home to one of Syria’s biggest oil fields, Al Omar, which prior to the civil war in Syria pumped 30,000 bpd of crude. Islamic State, which featured prominently in the Syrian civil war, controlled the field in 2015, when the U.S.-led coalition against the terrorist group destroyed it, cutting off a revenue stream that generated an estimated US$5.1 million from oil sales per month.

Clashes between the SDF and local communities have been going on for a while in Deir ez Zor, but now Islamic State is reportedly re-establishing itself in both Syria and Iraq, and the situation in eastern Syria, already difficult, may become even more difficult as the terrorist group would certainly seek to eventually regain control over oil fields.

According to a report in the Financial Times from last week, Islamic State militants have been kidnapping and killing people, and setting bombs in the territories it used to control between 2014 and 2017 when it was driven out from most of what it had called a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

In fact, the Financial Times quoted a SDF spokesperson, Kino Gabriel, as saying “Our estimation of Isis’s power was wrong. We realised that there are more Isis fighters than we thought,” echoing earlier warnings from geopolitical analysts that defeating the Islamic State would be an ongoing challenge, despite the liberation of former strongholds such as Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Andrew Nichols on December 12 2018 said:
    destroyed it, cutting off a revenue stream that generated an estimated US$5.1 million from oil sales per month.

    Dear God. What a myth. The ISIS oil convoys to Turkey only stopped when the Russians wiped them out.

    Isnt it time you journalists did more than pay lip service to the mission of talking truth to power and pointed out that the US presence in Syria is illegal with no justification whatsoever in International Law (which is quite a different beast to Washingtons "Rules based order)"?
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on December 11 2018 said:
    By taking control over several oil wells in eastern Syria after clashes with the rebel group Syrian Democratic Forces, Syrian civilians are claiming what is theirs and exercising their legitimate rights in their own country.

    There were reports that clashes have been going on for a while between Syrian civilians and rebel group supported by the United States over hoarding fuel and refusing to supply it to communities in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez Zor.

    The United States occupies large swaths of north-eastern Syria including Deir ez Zor which contains 95% of all Syrian oil and gas resources. And yet the US unashamedly imposed sanctions on oil shipments to Syria whose oil and gas fields are occupied illegally by the very country imposing the sanctions.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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