Syria: Sabotage Damaged Subsea Oil Pipelines

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Five underwater pipelines have been damaged and put out of order after a sabotage attack off the coastal town of Banias, Syria's oil ministry said.

The damage was discovered after divers checked to see what was behind an oil leakage, the ministry said Sunday.

The ministry gave no further details about the attack saying that the damage will be fixed within hours, by its experts. It said Oil Minister Ali Ghanem visited the area and met with engineers over the "terrorist attack."

Banias is home to one of Syria's two oil refineries. The other is in the central city of Homs.

Syria has been mostly relying on oil shipments through tankers to its Mediterranean coast.

Syria suffered recently from fuel shortages that were largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on its ally Iran.

Syria produced 350,000 barrels per day before the country's conflict began in 2011 and exported more than half of it. Now it is down to around 24,000 barrels a day, covering only a fraction of domestic needs.

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