Ras al-Ain, Syria – Abu Zechariah and his two sons are farmers in the Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain, in northeastern Syria. They are one of many families throughout Syria that have decided to start privately refining crude oil as a way to make money.
Trucks come from Ramlan to Ras al-Ain, where they then begin to extract the low-quality fuel using rudimentary and dangerous equipment.
Rival rebel groups and regime forces continue to battle for control of strategic oil and gas fields in Syria’s northeast. Since the war began, local demand for oil has soared due to the disruption in supply from the West, which has led to small, privately owned refineries being built throughout Syria. Though profitable, this process of refining “rock oil” is unhealthy, and explosions are always a risk.