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Fuel shortage chills northeast Syria as oil production lags

The fuel shortage in northeast Syria has left civilians struggling to find cooking and heating fuel this winter.
A Syrian man and two youths sell locally extracted and refined fuel from a makeshift refinery in Qamishli, a Kurdish-majority city in Hasakeh province, on July 15, 2015. A Kurdish local administration decided to take matters into its own hands, restarting extraction at 150 wells and creating around 20 makeshift refineries producing around 15,000 barrels of oil a day, more than the barely 10,000 bpd that Syria's government generates. AFP PHOTO / YOUSSEF KARWASHAN

Northeast Syria, where the majority of the country’s oil reserves are located, is suffering from an acute fuel shortage. The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration that controls northeastern Syria is not producing enough oil and gas to meet the demand, and civilians living under its control are accusing it of corruption and inequitable distribution.

“I stood in line for an hour until I got 26 liters of diesel, which is much less than what I need, but there is no alternative,” a man living in Western Qamishli told Al-Monitor under the pseudonym of Sirwan Hami. “I’ve also been looking for a gas cylinder since the beginning of February, and I have yet to find one,” he said. 

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