BEIRUT — Syria has blamed rebels for blowing up a natural gas pipeline Monday in the country’s oil-rich east, disrupting distribution.
A statement carried by Syria’s state news agency blamed a “terrorist group,” the regime’s description of rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.
The news agency said the blast Monday some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Deir el-Zour caused the loss of around 1.5 million cubic meters of gas. It quoted an Oil Ministry official as saying the station fed electricity plants and a fertilizer factory and that engineers were repairing the leak.
Rebels have repeatedly targeted Syria’s oil infrastructure in an effort to sap government finances. Last week, they reported seizing the al-Tanak oil field, also in eastern Syria.
In Damascus, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi acknowledged the difficulties to the Cabinet on Monday, blaming them on “unfair” international sanctions on Syria and rebel attacks on infrastructure.
“The armed terrorist groups targeted the productive and service institutions and caused huge damage to the national economy and the daily life of the citizens,” he said.
Al-Halqi said the government was trying to reopen oil facilities to provide for Syrian’s needs.