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Syrians Turn to Backyard Refining as War Reaches Oil By Mary Russell

Posted on Friday, 26th April 2013 @ 11:23 AM by Text Size A | A | A

The scene, captured on footage and uploaded onto YouTube, shows a young man walking around fires and through smoke near the town of Al Bab, explaining the production of mazut, used for home heating, and diesel at his homemade refinery….

The European Union eased an oil embargo to allow crude exports from rebel-held territory on April 22, saying it sought to promote the economy in opposition-controlled areas. Even so, it’s unclear who controls the oil fields and whether shipments can be resumed.

‘Very Sketchy’

“There is also little proof the national coalition has much oil under its control,” David Butter, associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa program at London-based Chatham House said. “It’s all very sketchy.”

The fields of the east and northeast are in areas where Islamist militants predominate, the Economist Intelligence Unit said in an April 24 report.

“The majority of the fields are controlled by al-Qaeda; some by the Free Army; some others by the Kurds,” said Rami Abdurrahman of the Coventry, England-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “We cannot confirm what percentage each controls.”

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