Syria: oil sanctions on the horizon

07 July 2011

SYRIAN opposition efforts to cut a big funding lifeline to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime may be about to yield fruit. European buyers of Syria’s Souedie crude are considering a boycott of the heavy oil that can be refined only in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France.

Anti-Assad forces have focused on the oil and gas sector as a crucial pressure point for a government that has been starved of its only alternative source of hard currency earnings – tourism – since widespread unrest hit Syria in mid-March.

Ausama Monajed, of the National Initiative for Change, claimed a boycott of oil exports would deprive the government of up to $8 million a day in earnings. “That revenue goes straight to the prime minister’s office making it easy to direct it to military and...

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