DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Firefighters put out a fire on Sunday at a distillation unit at one of Syria’s two oil refineries, Syrian state television reported.
No one was injured, but the fire caused damage to the facility, a refinery official said. Television named the cause of the fire as a crude oil leak from one of the pumping stations at the Homs oil refinery in central Homs province.
The blaze came amid a series of mysterious attacks on ships and oil facilities in Syria in recent months. The war-torn country has suffered from a fuel shortage in recent months.
The head of the Homs oil refinery, Suleiman Mohammed, told state television that the distillation unit that caught fire was one of four at the refinery.
In addition to the Homs refinery, Syria has another near the coastal town of Banias. Both are managed and operational by the government.
Most of Syria’s oil resources lie outside government-controlled areas.
Syria controls some small oil and gas fields in the center of the country, but most of the country’s large fields in the east are controlled by US-backed Kurdish fighters. This made Damascus dependent on Iran for fuel.
US Treasury sanctions have targeted a network spanning Syria, Iran and Russia responsible for transporting oil to the Syrian government.
In late April, the Syrian Oil Ministry said a fire broke out in an oil tanker on its coast after what it called a suspected drone attack.
In January, an explosion in an oil tanker outside a public fuel company in Homs sparked a massive fire. The oil minister told Syrian state television at the time that seven tankers caught fire but there were no civilian casualties.