Autonomous Administration areas | Economic crisis and poor services
People in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration suffer from dire living conditions as a result of fuel and water shortage and poor service delivered there by Municipalities of al-Shaa’b of the Autonomous Administration which control the area. In addition, Customs Department has raised taxes imposed on the entry of food coming from Kurdistan Region of Iraq, through Simalka crossing.
Crises have been worsened in all cities and towns, as long lines of cars and vehicles are awaiting in front of petrol stations to get its needs of fuel either for transportation or for operate the industrial and agriculture machines, although SDF control most of oil fields in Syria which are in Deir Ezzor countryside and al-Qamishli countryside north-eastern of al-Hasakah.
It is worth noting that the fuel price in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration are set as follows:
- Petrol: 200 to 2,500 SYL per litre, according to its quality.
- Diesel in petrol stations: 75 to 175 SYL per litre, when it is available.
- Oil in black markets: 1,000 to 1,500 SYL per litre, and it is always available in black markets.
Residents see that availability of diesel in black markets and it is shortage in petrol stations is intentional with aim to sell it at double prices. Others consider that not sending fuel by SADCOP (Storing and Distributing Co., Petroleum Products) of the Autonomous Administration to petrol stations is a kind of punishment to the residents for their demonstrations against the resolution No. 119 on raising fuel prices. It is worth noting that the Autonomous Administration later revoked the resolution after many popular protests which left several casualties when Asayish forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrators.
SDF, backed by the International Coalition, control all of the 11 oil fields in north-eastern Syria, including al-Omar which is the biggest Syrian oil fields, al-Tanak, al-Ward, Afra, Kouri, Jarnouf, Azraq, Qahar, Sh’aytat, and Ghelban in east Deir Ezzor, which represent a large share of energy resources in Syria, in addition to Romailan and Swaidia fields and natural gas resources .
However, the Autonomous Administration says that most oil fields have been damaged by the battles in the region and that they hardly operate at quarter capacity. Accordingly, the oil produced by these fields is insufficient to the needs of the region that represents 30% of Syria’s whole area.
SOHR sources have monitored several operations of smuggling fuel to areas controlled by “Peace Spring” operations room in Ras al-Ain (Seri Kanye) and Tal Abyad, and in areas controlled by “Euphrates Shield” in Jarablus and Azaz in Aleppo countryside, where SDF troops facilitate such operations.
Diesel is sold in these areas at 1,000 to 1,800 per litre, while one gas cylinder is sold at 35,000, which means considerable difference to prices in SDF-held areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has obtained an audios of an official in charge of selling and exporting fuel during while threatening some of tanker drivers who rejected to go to some areas he decides. SOHR sources have confirmed that 15 drivers have been suspended of work for one week and fined 500,000 Syrian lira for rejecting going to the checkpoint separating areas controlled by Manbij Military Council from faction-held area in north Aleppo countryside.
After the issue of resolutions 119 and despite being revoked, fuel has have become lacking in SDF-controlled areas almost completely. SOHR sources have pointed out that a large amount of crude oil, extracted from wells under the control of SDF, got out of Syrian territory to Kurdistan Region of Iraq through al-Waleed crossing, while another part of oil is transported to regime-controlled areas by Al-Qatergy company.
Autonomous Administration areas suffer not only from shortage of fuels, but also from an electricity crisis with no solutions looming. This crisis has escalated after Turkey started seizing water of the Euphrates river, which led to the decrease of level of water in dams that generate electricity. Despite the production and export of “Black Gold” (oil), the services provided in villages are very poor, including paving of roads and establishing of well-functioning sewage.
Moreover, the Customs Department of the Autonomous Administration has raised entry taxes imposed on food supplies coming from Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This procedure resulted in an increase in prices of basic products such as butter, vegetable, cooking oil, rice, sugar.. etc. It is worth noting that Syria had produce about 380,000 oil barrels daily, before the Syrian revolution in 2011. According to official statistics, which many Syrian researchers and economists see as much less than the actual ones, oil production reached its maximum before the revolution with 600,000 barrels being produced daily.