17 Apr 2019
AP — Syrians in government-controlled areas who have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge: widespread fuel shortages that have brought life to a halt in major cities.
Cars line up by the hundreds outside petrol stations, and long lines of people waiting to buy rationed cooking gas begin forming before dawn. Taxi drivers are crossing the border to Lebanon to stock up on fuel — and then doubling their rates. Drivers can be seen pulling over because their gas tanks are empty.
The shortages are largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, a key ally. But they have sparked rare and widespread public criticism of President Bashar Assad’s government just as he has largely succeeded in quashing the eight-year rebellion against his rule.
Western sanctions imposed after Assad launched a violent crackdown on Arab Spring protests in 2011 crippled the country’s oil industry, which once provided 20 percent of government revenues. Over the course of the war, Syria’s main oil fields fell into the hands of the Islamic State group and then U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.
By Sarah El Deeb, AP, 16 April 2019
Read more at the Associated Press
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