Syrian Oil Spill Threatens to Engulf Cyprus Beaches

Officials estimate the spill could reach the island within 24 hours, with Cypriot and Turkish authorities in contact over plan

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 Baniyas power plant in Baniyas, Syria,
Baniyas power plant in Baniyas, Syria,Credit: Reuters

An oil slick believed to have originated from a power plant inside one of Syria’s oil refineries could reach Cyprus' northeastern tip in the next 24 hours, the Mediterranean island nation's Fisheries and Marine Research Department said Monday.

The Department said the most recent computer model indicates the oil spill could affect Apostolos Andreas Cape in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus by late Tuesday.

It said information and photographs received from ships in the region show the slick is a thin film of oil rather than thick crude.

The Cypriot government has informed Turkish Cypriot authorities about the slick’s progress and is ready to offer any assistance.

Syria’s state news agency said last week that the spill occurred after fuel leaked from a tank at the Baniyas Thermal Station.

Syria’s oil resources are mostly outside government-controlled areas, but its two refineries are under government control. This makes Damascus reliant on Iran for fuel, but U.S. Treasury sanctions have hindered the supply network, which spans Syria, Iran and Russia.

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