Oil Wells Set Ablaze in Eastern Syria: Govt Blames Rebels

Rebels Reportedly Fought Over How to Split Revenue

Reports coming out of eastern Syria say that three oil wells in rebel-held territory in the Deir Azzor Province have been set afire, with the Furat Petroleum Company sending workers to try to extinguish them. State media reported a total of nine oil fires, saying the losses mean 4,670 barrels of oil daily are destroyed.

Details are still scarce, but state media said it is believed that rebel fighters set the wells ablaze in the course of an argument among different factions over how to divide the oil revenue.

With much of the nation’s oil in the disputed east, keeping the exports flowing is a tricky business, with local officials paying bribes to rebels to keep some going, and rebels taking over others outright, exporting the oil into government-held areas.

It is far from ideal for either side, though the practical matter is that the government depends on oil revenue, and has no choice but to barter for it, even if it means direct funding for factions they officially label “terrorists.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.