Latakia residents resort to “tricks” to obtain subsidized winter diesel

Heating diesel allocations for a family in Sarsakiya village in Latakia countryside - November 2023 (Enab Baladi/Linda Ali)

Heating diesel allocations for a family in Sarsakiya village in Latakia countryside - November 2023 (Enab Baladi/Linda Ali)


Latakia – Linda Ali

The 47-year-old taxi driver Mohammad followed a smart plan to obtain his government-subsidized allocation of heating diesel early this winter season, unlike last winter when he received 50 liters at the end of last January.

Mohammad’s plan, which is followed by many of the people of Latakia governorate, is to choose the name of a municipality located in the cold countryside.

He chose the municipality of Yarti town, about 17 miles from the coastal Latakia city and received a diesel fuel message with the name and number of the fuel tanker driver. Mohammad contacted the driver and agreed to meet at the nearest possible point where he was based in the al-Sanobar village, 4 miles from Latakia city.

Many residents of Latakia resort to this method, as they choose municipalities in cold areas in order to obtain their allocations of heating diesel early.

The process of distributing diesel in Latakia began at the beginning of November, but it is proceeding at a very slow pace. Fortunately for the people, winter and its cold weather were delayed a little this year.

Allocations still not delivered

On September 1, the regime’s Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources announced the start of registration for heating diesel for the winter, starting with an amount of 50 liters as a down payment only for each family, without announcing the amount of payments allocated for the entire winter season.

The Ministry’s statement stated that priority for delivery after registration will be for families who did not receive their allocations during the last season, and this is determined based on the last previous purchase of heating diesel.

The allocation of heating diesel for each Syrian family amounts to 200 liters, which was distributed in two batches of 100 liters each until 2021 when the government announced a reduction in the amount of allocations to 50 liters in one batch.

The oil ministry said at the time that the rate of the first allocation was 50 liters, followed by other allocations after completion, without specifying whether the allocations were still at the 200-liter barrier.

Since that time, the majority have only received the first allocation of 50 liters, and a small number have received both allocations at least four months apart, meaning that whoever received the first amount during November, for example, will receive the second in February.

Ploy, but in batches

Although Duraid, 38, is a government employee from the Saqubin suburb of Latakia, which is not considered a cold area, he decided to put the name of the municipality of his village in the Slenfa area in the application, and indeed he obtained heating diesel earlier than last year.

The process of transporting diesel from his village to his home in Saqubin was very cumbersome. He transported the quantity in four stages, each time bringing a portion of the quantity because he did not have a taxi fare of about 150,000 Syrian pounds to bring diesel.

Duraid said that if a person in Syria does not follow deceitful methods in order to secure the minimum necessities of life, he will have no place in the country.

What hurts Duraid the most is that his allocations are much less than what his family needs, despite all the efforts he made to obtain that “simple” amount.

Moala Ibrahim, member of the executive office of the Internal Trade Sector, said last October that the distribution rate of heating material reached 43% in the mountainous areas, and about 25% of the total number of cards registered to obtain diesel in the governorate, until the end of the third week of last October.

Ibrahim stated that the number of registered applications to obtain diesel fuel in the governorate is 337,59 cards, including 199,510 in the governorate’s countryside, of which 86,50 applications have been implemented, and 345 applications are under implementation, with 109,422 applications waiting.

If a quarter of the applicants received heating diesel from the beginning of September until the end of October, that is, within a period of two months from the start of distribution, the process of distributing the first batch may not end before the entire winter passes, thus depriving everyone of the second batch, as is customary every year.

No diesel in cold areas

Although Daliyah village in the Jableh countryside is considered one of the coldest areas in the Latakia governorate, a number of its residents have not received their allocations until the date of preparing this report, as they are still waiting for the message to arrive.

As of November 3, the mother and brother of Hiam, 51, who lives in the city of Jableh, had not yet received their allocation of heating diesel, even though they reside in Daliyah.

Hiam said that she is worried about her elderly mother, as the majority of the villagers rely on firewood for their heating due to the lack of diesel fuel.

However, they place a diesel heater in the bedroom and a wood-burning heater in the living room, and they try as much as possible to make 50 liters sufficient to heat the bedroom, at least, given the danger of sleeping near a wood stove.

Ali Ali, director of the Latakia Fuel Branch, announced the start of distributing heating diesel allocations in the city of Latakia at the beginning of November and said that it included several neighborhoods such as Al-Owaina, Sheikh Daher, Al-Tabiyat, the Tishreen suburb, Saqubin, and others.

He said that the distribution rate of diesel in the cold countryside reached about 99%, after which it will move to the less cold countryside, pointing out that the distribution rate in Latakia reached 31% until the beginning of November.



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