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Syria steps up fuel rationing as shortages hit mobile network

Road, Truck, Vehicle REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Prime Minister Hussein Arnous has ordered a 40% cut in the amount of fuel provided to government employees

Syria announced on Tuesday it would cut the amount of fuel it provides to government employees to help address shortages that have knocked out a number of mobile phone towers.

Prime Minister Hussein Arnous ordered a 40 percent cut in the amount of fuel provided to government employees and restrictions on official travel for non-urgent purposes, according to a statement.

The statement said public transportation is excluded, blaming the shortages on delays in shipments and US sanctions.

Subsidised fuel is already hard to come by in Syria, where people often wait weeks for notices to receive less than a full tank of fuel. Those who can buy unsubsidized fuel must stand in long lines at petrol pumps.

The economic crisis in Syria, riven by more than a decade of conflict frozen on most fronts, is taking an increasingly heavy toll that the United Nations says has left more people in need of humanitarian aid than ever before.

The once-productive Syrian economy, already damaged by massive damage to infrastructure and industries during the war, has deteriorated further since 2019, when a contagion of the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon led to a collapse of the Syrian pound.