Fire damages Syria gas pipelines

Production continues as government denies reports of fire caused by two explosions.

    Syrian officials say the cause of the fire was either dry weather conditions or a leakage in line [GALLO/GETTY]

    A gas pipeline in the east of Syria has caught fire, although production is continuing through alternative pipelines, according to Syrian government officials.

    Residents said that two explosions hit two minor gas pipelines in eastern Syria on Wednesday, but the official state news agency, SANA, said a pipeline had caught fire due to either dry weather conditions or a leakage from the pipeline.

    "An inquiry has started... most likely the fire was caused by a fire in the nearby grass or leakage in the line... which is under construction," SANA said.

    Residents said bomb blasts damaged the pipelines in a heavily guarded area in al-Tayana and Busaira regions east of the provincial capital Deir al-Zor, near the border with Iraq.

    "People are suspecting that the regime is behind the attacks to discredit the democracy cause after months of peaceful demonstrations," Sheikh Nawaf al-Khatib, a prominent tribal leader, told the Reuters news agency by phone.

    "It is very difficult to hit those pipelines with more troops deploying in Deir al-Zor lately."

    Deir al-Zor has been the scene of large protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    The pro-government TV station Ikhbariyeh Souriyeh said there were no casualties and that damages to the pipeline were minor.

    Syria produces about 350,000 barrels of oil per day as well as natural gas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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