The European Union has agreed to a partial lifting of the Syrian oil embargo today, permitting member nations to engage in any deals in the nation that are approved by the rebel Syrian National Coalition (SNC).
The EU has historically bought the vast majority of Syria’s oil exports, but halted that in September 2011 because of the growing civil war. Oil production is dramatically down because of the fighting, however, and security concerns may make exports difficult.
Moreover, SNC’s control is far from absolute. Syria’s government still retains some oilfields, and Kurdish militias hold others. Even where rebels hold oilfields there have been ugly fights among different rebel factions on how to divide any revenue.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry was quick to criticize the decision, saying that the move to start buying oil form the rebels was “out of line with the principles of international law.”
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