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A drone attack set an oil tanker off the Syrian coast on fire, the country’s oil ministry said as quoted by various media, adding that it suspected the attack came from Lebanese waters.
Al Jazeera quoted a report by an Iranian TV station, which said the tanker was Iranian and had sustained some damage from the strike. Another Iranian media, however, the Tasnim agency, said, “The accident happened to another vessel … and is not linked to a ship carrying Iranian cargo.”
TankerTrackers.com confirmed the tanker that was hit was not an Iranian vessel but a Lebanese one.
“The tanker seen burning today off the coast of Baniyas is not an Iranian vessel, but a Beirut-registered tanker called WISDOM. She has assisted the Iranian VLCC supertanker ARMAN 114 (ex. ADRIAN DARYA-1) by offloading 300-350K barrels at a time due to depth restrictions,” the tanker-tracking company said in a tweet.
Initially, suspicions were voiced by Syrian media that the attacks were carried out by the Israeli army, but Israeli media reported that the fire on the tanker was not the result of an Israeli attack. As for casualties, the Britain-based one-man operated Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least three people were killed in the attack. The Times of Israel said there were no reports of casualties. The fire was extinguished quickly.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Israeli army has been targeting Iranian oil tankers bound for Syria on numerous occasions, citing U.S. and Middle Eastern officials as saying that Tel Aviv was concerned that oil profits were funding regional extremism. Iran is the biggest supplier of crude oil to Syria.
Israel has been fighting Iran’s influence in the Middle East for decades, and now with Iran’s alliance with Syria, the latter has become the target of frequent attacks from Israel.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.