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Fuel Crisis Paralyzes Damascus

Fuel Crisis Paralyzes Damascus

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019 - 05:15
Syrians queue to fill their car with gasoline at a station in Damascus. (AFP)
Damascus - Asharq Al-Awsat
Less cars were seen on the streets of Damascus this week as Syria suffers from fuel shortages that the regime has blamed on strangling Western sanctions on the war-torn country.

The empty streets on Monday were in stark contrast to the heavy traffic of the passed months after the regime captured areas surrounding the capital.

Syria had previously suffered from a shortage of propane gas and diesel and frequent power cuts.

Two weeks ago, the crisis expanded to include gasoline, pushing authorities to temporarily slash the daily cap on subsidized petrol by half, from 40 to 20 liters per vehicle, amid reports that the cap could reach 20 liters for every five days.

Wassim, a Syrian in his twenties, parked his car in a long queue at a gasoline station in northern Damascus.

“Maybe I need a whole day to get my turn. And, maybe gasoline could run out before that,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

In contrast to Wassim, Abu Samir, an employee at a private firm, opted to leave his car parked in front of his house and take the company bus to work.

“The crisis seems unending. Not a matter of one or two days,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Abu Samir said his car is now filled with 10 liters of gasoline, which he is saving for emergencies.

The number of taxis also decreased in Damascus, with drivers forced to increase tariffs due to an increase in gasoline prices.

Many Syrians opted to walk than wait in queues for an empty seat in a bus or cab.

“I prefer to walk instead of wasting time waiting for a bus to drive me to university every day,” a university student told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that many girls are being sexually abused in the packed taxis.

Before the war, Syria produced over 400,000 barrels of oil per day. Now, the number has dropped to only 14,000, according to regime sources.

Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis has held the US and Egypt responsible for the crisis in providing energy derivatives.

However, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish had previously stressed that no ship carrying legal goods could be banned from passing.

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