Syria has decided to close state institutions for two days this month due to crippling fuel shortages, as the country continues to suffer from a disruption in fuel supplies and ongoing international sanctions imposed on Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
According to Syrian state media, government institutions and agencies in areas controlled by Damascus are set to close on 11 and 18 December, reportedly after many employees have been unable to make it to work due to badly-impacted public transportation.
The regime’s decision comes amid the ongoing fuel crisis which has hit the country over the past few years, caused by a variety of factors, including sanctions over Syrian security services’ human rights violations and war crimes, and a severe delay in fuel deliveries from Iran, despite its recent increase of supplies by 1 million barrels a month to reach 3 million barrels a month.
Most of the territory where the oil fields are based are also under the control of the United States’ military and the Kurdish militias that it backs, meaning that the regime’s oil production has dropped from the pre-war 380,000 barrels of oil per day to around 80,000 per day.
As a result, the fuel crisis has affected almost every sector and industry, with the essential commodity being needed for power generators that supply factories, telecoms networks and other institutions.
Even the government-subsidised fuel has reportedly hardly helped, as motorists have been receiving their 25 litres every 20 days instead of every 10 days which they were guaranteed. Syria’s Ministry of Internal Trade this week also more than doubled the prices of subsidised fuel.
The crisis – which sees regime-held cities often powered by electricity for only a few hours per day – was one of the major reasons behind the uprising and unrest against regime authorities in the southern province of Sweida over the weekend. That incident resulted in the killings of a protestor and police officer, the injury of several others, and regime forces’ firing on civilians.