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US-led forces have blown up three oil tankers in Syria as the United States increases its pressure on Syria by thwarting the oil trade between the PKK/YPG and the Assad regime, according to local sources quoted by several media sources.
The strike was carried about by coalition planes, which hit three oil tankers, leaving four dead. The coalition has not yet made a statement about the attack. In the area controlled by Assad, oil consumption stands at around 136,000 bpd. Production, meanwhile, is only 24,000 barrels per day. This means that the regime must import significant volumes of crude oil at an estimated expense of more than $2 billion per year.
The attack comes a couple weeks after the EU extended its sanctions on the Assad regime for one year after the Syrian regime upped the ante in repressing the Syrian people, bringing the Syrian crisis to a boiling point.
Reports surfaced weeks ago that Iran had resumed oil shipments to Syria in the wake of US sanctions on the former, with a million barrels arriving in Syria from Iran on May 5. Further illicit oil shipments may be coming, as a new border crossing between Iraq and Syria is currently under construction, Fox News reported last week, based on satellite imagery revealing that construction is underway.
In Syria, Arab residents of oil-rich Deir Ezzor area began protests in April against US-backed Kurdish forces that control the region to the East of the Euphrates. The protests disrupted the oil flows from nearby fields, most of which have been controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces since the end of 2017.
The fuel and electricity shortages that are occurring now in Syria have soured previous supporters of Assad against his rule. Iran, who has poured billions into Syria to prop up the Assad regime in recent years, is now feeling US pressure on both fronts—one at home as its oil exports are restricted, and another in Syria.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.