Syria lacks fuel for cooking

Syria lacks fuel for cooking

LONDON - Reuters
European Union sanctions have forced Syria’s sole supplier of heating fuel to halt deliveries, making it hard for Syrians to cook and heat their homes and potentially widening opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The EU had for humanitarian reasons allowed Greek company Naftomar to continue supplying Syria in winter with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), used for heating and cooking, but the bloc has now blacklisted the Syrian company that handled the imports.

“LPG deliveries to Syria have stopped because of sanctions,” said a director at Naftomar, who asked not to be named.

Most major oil firms had already severed ties with Syria for fear of defying EU measures or being linked to a bloody crackdown in which thousands have died.

Critics had said that Naftomar, by delivering the fuel, worth at least $55 million each month during the winter, might have been helping to extend Assad’s rule.

Naftomar defended its position on the grounds its fuel may have been preventing an even worse humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Political allies Russia and Venezuela have continued to provide Syria with shipments of refined products such as gasoile, which can be used to fuel army tanks.