A pipeline attack in Syria’s Damascus countryside this week caused massive blackouts as vital gas supplies were unable to reach key powerplants near the capital, yet another instance of Syria’s energy infrastructure being targeted as part of the ongoing civil war. Syria’s Oil Minister Ali Ghanem attributed the attack to Islamic State militants, but government engineers – all too adept at quick infrastructure fixes – were able to repair the damage within days. The attack hit the ‘Arab gas pipeline’ – a key gas corridor running through Syria that supplied Egyptian gas to Syria and Lebanon via Jordan until 2011. The route is now used (in part) to supply Israeli gas to Jordan in the opposite direction (MEES, 1 November 2019).
Syria’s gas sector has played a crucial, if oft overlooked, role in President Bashar al-Assad’s successful war effort. The government has managed to keep most gas processing infrastructure and pipelines operational, even bringing new gas wells onstream in government areas (MEES, 4 January 2019). Utilizing its 600mn cfd output, Syrian electricity provision is considerably better than neighboring Lebanon and Iraq despite years of conflict and infrastructure attacks. (CONTINUED - 185 WORDS)