Rockets were fired overnight at Syria’s main Homs refinery and two gas units causing minor damage and disrupting production, oil officials said on Saturday, calling it a “terrorist attack”, Reuters writes.
Fires were extinguished after several hours and maintenance engineers had begun repair work, the refinery head, Haitham Musawkar, was quoted as saying on state media.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted the Homs oil refinery, one of only two in the country, as well as two natural gas facilities in different parts of Homs province, Arab News reports.
Syria has suffered fuel shortages since earlier this year amid Western sanctions blocking imports, and because most of the country’s oil fields are controlled by Kurdish-led fighters in the country’s east.
State TV said it believes the attacks were carried out by drones and happened at the same time. The city of Homs and its suburbs have been fully under Syrian government control since 2017. However, some parts of the province near the border with Jordan remain in rebel hands.
In June, sabotage attacks damaged five underwater pipelines off the Mediterranean coastal town of Banias in Tartous province.
Syria’s oil imports dropped in October 2018 and shortages began in early 2019, largely the result of tighter Western sanctions on Syria and renewed US sanctions on key Syrian ally Iran.
Before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the country exported around half of the 350,000 barrels of oil it produced per day. Now its production is down to around 24,000 barrels a day, covering only a fraction of domestic needs.