Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture
5 years has passed, since the start of the Syrian revolution and the beginning of the poor suffering in Deir Ezzor. As a result the dismissal of a large number of the government employees by Syrian regime because of their support to the revolution, as well as preventing the rest from receiving their monthly salary from regime institutions by IS, after sieging its controlled areas early this year, The people cannot afford buying heating fuel for the cold winter. The province has seen a significant decline in business and agricultural movement because of conflict since the beginning of 2012, between the armed opposition groups and the Syrian regime. The situation also worsening in recent months after the control of IS over Deir Ezzor and the start of the international coalition war” against terrorism. ”
Awad, a father of six children, works in Ministry of Education, lives in Mayadeen city east of Dier Ezzor countryside, has not been able yet to secure enough money to buy heating fuel because of his bad economic situation for he was prevented from receiving his salary for 11 months by IS, in addition to the high fuel prices in local markets.
Deir Ezzor is floating on a “sea of oil”. There are more than eight major oil fields of the largest in Syria. The most important ones are, Al-Omar, Al-ward, tin and Taim, in addition to Kuniko gas plant which is located in the eastern countryside of the province.
These oil fields, which were invested by the Syrian regime until November of 2012. After that they became controlled by local military factions and some local tribes. Then, All of these fields and wells became under the control of IS after dominating the province.
Oil was sold to local businessmen who in turn refine it in local traditional refineries (burners) which are made of tanks where the oil is placed with a fire underneath to separate components of crude oil into products such as biodiesel, gasoline, kerosene. Recently, electric refineries are being used which give relatively higher quality of oil derivatives and are less dangerous to workers and the surrounding environment.
Traditional and electrical refineries products are the only sources of fuel after the cessation of oil production’s decision in Dier Ezzor by the Syrian regime, which the government issued in March 2013.
This year, the province seen a “crazy” rise in fuel prices, up to 200% compared to last year’s prices in all regions, and that was due to several reasons, most notably is the international coalition forces strikes which started in September/2014. Coalition raids targeted oil fields and wells controlled by IS, including tank, Al-Omar oil fields, as well as Kuniko and Al_husian wells in Albu Kamal desert, in addition to the destroying of large refineries belonging to IS and some of the people in the region.
Ahmed, an owner of a refinery in Dier Ezzor do not attribute the rise in oil prices only to coalition raids which led to the suspension of work in some fields and oil wells, instead he pointed to IS policy which also caused severe shortages in crude oil, as IS sell oil to non-local Iraqi traders who buy oil from IS and sell it in the black market in Iraq.
Oil derivatives’ prices this year if compared to previous years show the upsurge. A capacity of 220 liters barrel of diesel price “used in heating” was about 15 thousand Syrian pounds before IS control Deir Ezzor. While the same amount now costs 39 thousand Syrian pounds. noting that the prices tend to rise due to the coalition forces’ ongoing raids, selling the oil to Iraqi traders and low temperatures in the winter.
Moreover, there are other reasons led to this rise. With the advent of winter, the owners of oil refineries and traders of oil derivatives tend to monopoly these materials, especially diesel, gasoline and kerosene, which are the most important substance for heating purposes.
A civilian from Deir Ezzor said “the owners of oil refineries and traders see winter “combined with exceptional circumstances” as an opportunity to earn more money, taking advantage of people’s need and the lack of alternatives, and arguing that they “the traders and refineries owners” work under risk due to coalition strikes. ”
Deir Ezzor, one of the most important provinces in Syrian oil production, which supplies most of the liberated areas with crude oil and its derivatives, suffers from a severe crisis due to the high prices, leaving people incapable against the cold winter in conditions of displacement and living in the camps and the lack of power supplies .