Syria: sanctions and oil looting cause fuel shortages, 4-day work week
The Syrian cabinet announces that state institutions will work for four days a week only due to unilateral sanctions and oil looting.
Syria's state institutions introduce a four-day work week following acute fuel shortages as Syrian oil continues to be looted by US occupation forces, and as Washington's unilateral sanctions against Syria result in a continued decline of oil resources.
According to the Syrian cabinet, on Thursday, "The work of state institutions, except those whose work must be uninterrupted, will be stopped on Sundays, December 11 and 18, due to the situation with oil products resulting from the sanctions and unilateral economic measures imposed on Syria," the cabinet said in a statement.
Classes at several universities were also canceled by authorities. Several merchants were detained during a series of searches for unlawfully selling gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil, as well as stockpiling oil products, according to the government.
Syrian Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Minister Amr Nazir Salem told Sham FM that the government does not want bakeries and hospitals to stop operating due to fuel shortages.
He stated that 142 gas stations across the country have already been shut down due to breaches of trade regulations. Salem also noted that purchasing fuel for the government is presently an impossible burden due to the need for foreign currency.
At present, Salem explained, there is no way to solve the fuel crisis the country is witnessing.
Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Bassam Tohme told the Sham FM that the crisis started 50 days ago, but the government has been handling it through the use of oil reserves. However, since then the situation has been exacerbated by the delay in the arrival of oil tankers at the request of the US.
According to Tohme, a tanker carrying 700,000 barrels of oil landed on December 3 at the Syrian port of Banyas, which had been kept off the Greek coast for several months at the request of the US. Tohme stated that one tanker would not be enough to alleviate the problem.
For years now, Syria has faced gasoline shortages as a result of sanctions. Syria consumes over 100,000 barrels of oil per day while producing just 24,000 barrels.
It is important to note that oil production has been limited by the fact that several of the oil-producing facilities in Syria remain outside the government's control; under US occupation. Furthermore, oil and petroleum imports have become increasingly difficult due to unilateral sanctions against Syria.