Extremists and rebels now control “most of Syria’s oil and gas resources,” the New York Times reported Tuesday.
The groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad are now using oil and gas revenues to finance their civil war against the regime, according to American officials.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the Nusra Front — both of which are offshoots of Al Qaeda — control the energy infrastructure and are even selling fuel to the Assad government, the Times said.
Abu Nizar, an antigovernment activist in Deir al-Zour province. said the fight for the oil and gas assets is a war within a war.
The situation in the oil-rich province amounts to “overwhelming chaos,” Nizar told the New York Times.
Other rebel groups backed by Western powers aren’t part of the scramble for the oil and gas facilities and trade, the report said.
Syria production plummeted to about 80,000 barrels a day at the end of 2013.
Production was about 400,000 barrels a day in 2011, before the civil violence escalated into full scale war.
Kurdish militias have also taken over oil and gas producing areas near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, the report said.
“Assad’s government has become increasingly dependent on its foreign allies and imports most of its fuel from Iran and Iraq, while Hezbollah smuggles diesel and gasoline over the border from Lebanon, according to regional oil experts,” the NYT said.