Pipeline Explosion Causes Blackout in Syria, Minister Says Evidence Points to 'Terrorist Attack'

U.S. Syria envoy says incident 'almost certainly' strike by ISIS

Reuters
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A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency early on August 24, 2020, shows firefighters putting out a burning pipeline in the Damascus area.
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency early on August 24, 2020, shows firefighters putting out a burning pipeline in the Damascus area.Credit: AFP PHOTO / HO / SANA
Reuters

An explosion on the Arab Gas Pipeline has caused a power blackout in Syria and initial indications point to an attack, the energy minister told state-run television on Monday.

The Ikhbariya TV channel showed footage of a large fire following the explosion, which officials told state media occurred between the Syrian towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra, northwest of the capital of Damascus.

"Initial indications are this was a terrorist attack," Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem told Ikhbariya, adding that the pipeline feeds power stations in the south. He said technical teams were already on the ground.

The electricity minister was later quoted by state news agency SANA as saying that power had gradually started being restored to the country's provinces.

U.S. Syria envoy James Jeffrey said that Washington is still looking into the explosion, but that the incident appears to bear the hallmarks of an ISIS attack. "We are still looking into that," Jeffrey told reporters in Geneva at the start of UN-sponsored talks of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. "But it was almost certainly a strike by ISIS." 

In 2013, much of Syria was hit by a power cut after rebel shelling hit a gas pipeline during the country's civil war.

The Arab Gas Pipeline system extends from Egypt into Jordan and Syria.

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