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Tension Between Tehran and Assad Regime Increases Syrians’ Suffering

The fallout from Iran's oil suspension is felt acutely in Syria, The New Arab reports.
Tension Between Tehran and Assad Regime Increases Syrians’ Suffering

The growing strain in relations between Tehran and the Assad regime is inflicting more hardship on Syrians amidst a deepening fuel crisis and soaring prices. A Damascus insider disclosed to The New Arab the escalating Iranian unease and friction with the Syrian regime. This unease surged following activists affiliated with Bashar al-Assad’s regime urging the withdrawal of what they termed “Persian occupation” from Syria, squarely blaming Iran for escalating poverty and shortages.

According to the source speaking to The New Arab, Iranian apprehension intensified due to Assad government ministers’ hesitancy in fulfilling agreements with Iran. The ministers’ delays, citing international sanctions and Syria’s dire need for direct funds, have stymied Iranian projects, earmarked to settle debts dating back to 2013, totalling around $50 billion. With Syria urgently requiring liquidity for salaries and imports, the standoff deepened.

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Tensions escalated further after Ambassador Hussein Akbari’s meetings with Assad government ministers failed to yield progress on signed agreements spanning electricity, phosphates, industry, and agriculture. In response, Iran halted crude oil supplies to Syria as an initial measure until the Assad government accedes to Iranian demands. Ambassador Akbari is slated to engage with industry chambers, commerce officials, and Assad government ministers in Damascus to expedite project implementations, as per sources.

Analyst Abdul Nasser al-Jassem characterizes the situation as the Assad regime’s intimidation of Iran, suggesting that the dwindling oil supply to Syrian refineries signals a potential escalation if Iran perceives further defiance. He underscores the UAE’s involvement, particularly its energy and industrial sector investments in Syria, heightening tensions between the Assad regime and Iran. Jassem anticipates a resolution during the Arab summit or afterward, emphasizing the region’s consensus on curbing Iranian expansionism.

The fallout from Iran’s oil suspension is felt acutely in Syria, exacerbating citizens’ plight. Muhammad Talalo, a former employee of Damascus Hydrocarbon Company, laments the crisis’s impact on public transport and fuel availability, with prices soaring to 16,000 Syrian pounds per litre due to increased demand and reduced government allocations.

The possibility of further price hikes looms as fuel allocations dwindle, exacerbating living conditions. The Ministry of Internal Trade recently adjusted oil and fuel prices to reflect global market shifts, with prices soaring for various fuel types, compounding Syrians’ hardship.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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