Five offshore oil pipelines near the western Syrian city of Baniyas were damaged in an apparent attack, the country’s oil ministry said Sunday. Work is underway to repair the pipelines. Oil supply will be restored in the coming hours, the ministry stressed, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
"We were informed yesterday about an oil leak off Baniyas. Specialist divers of the Syrian oil company investigated it and found traces of external damage on five pipelines", it said on Facebook.
This is reportedly the first attack on underwater pipelines since the Syrian civil war began eight years ago.
The city of Baniyas is home to one of Syria's two oil refineries. The other situated in the city of Homs. Syria has been reportedly relying on oil shipments through tankers to its Mediterranean coast.
According to The New York Times, Damascus was hit by fuel shortages largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed US sanctions on Iran.
Syria produced 350,000 barrels per day before the country was engulfed in civilian war in 2011 and exported over half. The nation now produces an estimated 24,000 barrels a day, covering only a fraction of domestic needs, according to Nytimes.com.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, when mass anti-government protests against President Bashar Assad and the ruling party escalated to an armed confrontation between government troops and the Syrian opposition.
Apart from fighting rebels in the ongoing conflict, government forces have had to counter extremist and terrorist groups as well, including Daesh.