Minister of Environmental Affairs: Bombing of oil pipeline damages economy, harms public health and environment
State Minister of Environmental Affairs Kawkab Dayeh on Saturday affirmed that the bombing of the petroleum pipeline by terrorist groups which took place on Friday near Tal Housh dam targets national economy, damages the environment and hams public health and livelihoods.
During a tour of the bombing site, Dayeh said that work is underway to control the damage caused by this act of vandalism, and that the priority is undoing the damage to the nearby lake that irrigates farmlands.
According to the director of the Homs branch of the Syrian Petroleum Transport Company Fayssal al-Habib, the last layer of the oil slick is being drained from the lake, while work on fixing the pipeline is expected to be finished by the end of Saturday in order to resume pumping oil through it.
In turn, Director of Water Resources Tammam Raad said that they are working to remove the pollution caused by the bombing in three areas, including the bombing site itself, the channel that feeds Tal Housh dam, and the lake itself, stressing that tests will be conducted to ensure that no petroleum pollutants are present in the lake water before resuming irrigation with it.
On Friday, saboteur groups targeted an oil pipeline near Tal Hosh Dam in Tal Kalakh with an explosive bomb, leaving a hole of 15-meter in diameter and causing oil leak.
“At 04:00 am on Friday, some citizens heard an explosion near a pipeline for transporting crude oil to Baniyas”, Governor of Homs, Ghassan Abdul-Aal said in a statement to SANA Correspondent.
The Governor added that the terrorist and sabotage act targets two vital sectors at the same time as the saboteurs chose a point near Tal Hosh Dam which irrigates large areas of the agricultural lands.
The saboteurs committed their act with the intent to cause serious damages and losses through disrupting the irrigation operations and polluting the water of the dam and its channels, he said.
Abdul-Aal indicated to the governorate’s efforts and procedures to stop the oil spill and prevent its spreading into the water of Tal Hosh Dam.
For his part, Head of Water Resources Directorate in Homs, Tammam Ra’ad, said this terrorist act is deliberate and well-planned, particularly in terms of the damages as the Dam irrigates 6000 hectares of agricultural land in Homs and Tartous provinces with a storage capacity of 53 million cubic meters.
He added that the Directorate took all procedures necessary to prevent the spilled oil from reaching the supply channels and cut off water supply to the farmers’ lands.
Director General of the Syrian Crude Oil Transport Company, Numeer Makhlouf, said that the Company stopped pumping oil through the targeted pipeline and shifted it to another pipeline.
He indicated that the targeted pipeline transports oil from the oil fields in Deir Ezzor and the Euphrates region to Baniyas to meet the refinery needs while the oil surplus is exported.
Minister of Petroleum Sufian Allao said the terrorist act which targeted the oil pipeline aimed at undermining the two vital sectors of economy and agriculture, not to mention the environmental damage caused by the oil leak.
The Minister said work is going on to fix the pipeline and suck up the quantity of oil which gushed into the hole caused by the explosion and spilled into a canal supplying Tal Hosh Dam, with some of it reaching the lake.
He noted that pumping through the bombed pipeline stopped immediately and was shifted into another pipeline, stressing that oil supply to the refinery and the port has not been affected and will continue as usual.
Irrigation Minister George Soumi condemned this terrorist act, saying it proves that the saboteur groups are linked with foreign plots aimed at undermining Syria’s national and pan-Arab stances.
Mohammad Tarsisi, a farmer, denounced this criminal act, warning of a real environmental and agricultural catastrophe that could have happened in the area had the Dam’s lake been polluted.
Last Saturday, a group of saboteurs targeted a train in al-Soda area in Homs at 03:00 am while it was traveling from Aleppo to Damascus with the aim of derailing the train to fall off the bridge into the Orontes River and killing the 500 passengers onboard. The accident resulted in the martyrdom of the driver and several injuries among its passengers.