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Official: Syria has lost $2 billion in oil revenues

By Weedah Hamzah –

BEIRUT — Syria’s oil minister said Thursday that his government had lost $2 billion in revenues as a result of European and U.S. bans on importing its oil, the state-run Syrian News Agency SANA quoted him as saying.

“We have suffered important losses as a result of our inability to export crude oil and petroleum products,” Sufian Allaw told a news conference in Damascus.

“The shortfall and losses from Sept. 1 until now add up to more than $2 billion,” he said.

The United States and the European Union imposed the ban in response to the brutal crackdown the Syrian government has been carrying out against pro-democracy protesters since mid-March.

According to United Nations estimates, more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown.

The U.S. has banned the importation of Syrian petroleum and petroleum products. The sanctions have targeted five main Syrian government companies: General Petroleum Corp, Syrian Co for Oil Transport, Syrian Gas Co, Syrian Petroleum Co and Sytrol.

The EU also has banned imports of Syrian crude. Damascus has in the past generated roughly one-third of its revenue from oil sales to Europe, according to official Syrian statistics.

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