Venezuela delivers much-needed fuel supplies to Syria

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Syrian oil minister Sufian Alao announced on Wednesday a Venezuelan oil tanker with 35,000 tonnes of diesel arrived in Syria while another was on its way.

“A Venezuelan tanker carrying 35,000 tonnes of diesel docked in Syria on Tuesday and Venezuela is preparing another tanker which will come to Syria soon,” state news agency Sana quoted Alao as saying.

Reuters’ ship tracking data showed the Negra Hipolita, managed by state oil firm PDVSA, left Venezuela at the start of May and docked at the Syrian port of Banias this week.

Venezuela outraged Washington last year by supplying much-needed oil to Iran, another Middle Eastern nation subject to Western sanctions on fuel supplies.

Alao disclosed the country’s oil industry has lost around $4 billon since European Union governments imposed a ban on Syrian oil imports on 2 September. European countries used to buy some 90% of the country’s oil exports.

Sanctions on President Bashar Al Assad’s government are in response to the bloody crackdown on an uprising which, according to the United Nations, has claimed more than 9,000 lives.

The minister said domestic production of diesel covered around 50% of the country’s needs and “there are discussions to secure materials from Iran and Algeria.”

A joint Russia-Syrian committee is also looking at the possibility of “concluding a long-term contract with Russia to supply diesel and cooking gas,” Sana quoted Alao as saying.

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