Shutdown of al-Suwaydiya plant pushes residents in northeast Syria towards gas alternatives 

Residents resorted to gas alternatives in northeast Syria after the shutdown of al-Suwaydiya plant - January 22, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Obadah al-Sheikh)

Residents resorted to gas alternatives in northeast Syria after the shutdown of al-Suwaydiya plant - January 22, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Obadah al-Sheikh)


The regions under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria have been experiencing a severe gas crisis for a week, as a result of the Turkish forces targeting of the al-Suwaydiya facility in al-Hasakah province, prompting residents to search for alternatives.

The shutdown of the al-Suwaydiya gas plant, after being hit directly by four strikes according to the Energy Office in the Jazira region affiliated with the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES), led to the cut-off of gas from markets and consequently the doubling of the prices of household gas cylinders.

The price of a gas cylinder on the black market in AANES-controlled areas ranges between 350,000 and 400,000 Syrian pounds, as monitored by Enab Baladi correspondents in al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor, which is about 27 dollars, while the minimum wage reaches about 70 dollars after the last salary increase.

The high costs and scarcity of cylinders have forced residents of northeast Syria to look for a temporary or permanent alternative to household gas for cooking.

Gas alternatives

Salma Mohammed, who lives in the Aziziyah neighborhood of al-Hasakah city, told Enab Baladi that she was forced to buy a kerosene heater for 175,000 Syrian pounds after the household gas cut off from the markets, in addition to buying a liter of kerosene from the black market at a price of 6000 pounds per liter, to cook food for her family.

Salma’s family consumes more than three liters of kerosene daily, while her family is considered, like the majority of neighborhood families, of limited income, and cannot afford to buy kerosene daily from the black market.

Rahaf, an employee at the Civil Council from al-Sa’wa town west of Deir Ezzor, told Enab Baladi that she had not received a gas cylinder from AANES for two months, and after the gas plant stopped operation, gas cylinders became rare in the black market, and if found, are very expensive.

She added that she relies on kerosene, estimating her daily need at four liters, at a cost of 5000 per liter.

Kerosene: Unhealthy alternative

Suleiman al-Hardan, from the town of al-Basira in Deir Ezzor countryside, started using alternatives such as kerosene heaters due to the shortage of household gas supply.

Al-Hardan told Enab Baladi that his wife suffers from chest problems, and despite the health risks of kerosene and the doctor’s warnings, there is no alternative.

Al-Hardan explained that the gas crisis in Deir Ezzor dates back to before the shutdown of al-Suwaydiya plant, as he gets household gas provided by the Autonomous Administration every three months and relies on kerosene for the remaining months due to the high price of gas on the black market.

A household gas trader in Jdeidet Bakkara in Deir Ezzor countryside told Enab Baladi that the price of a ten-kilo cylinder did not exceed 150,000 pounds, but after the shutdown of the plant from extending gas, its price doubled.

Koniko plant is also out of service

An employee at the Omar oil field, who withheld his name for not being authorized to speak to the media, told Enab Baladi that the gas plants of “Al-Jafra” and “Koniko” have been out of service since 2017, due to them being targeted.

Three years ago, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attempted to get the Koniko plant back into operation through cooperation with Syrian companies affiliated with the regime, but the International Coalition forces detained them for six months and then returned them to the regime.

An employee at the Deir Ezzor Petroleum Authority, who also withheld his name for not being authorized to speak to the media, talked to Enab Baladi about plans to import gas from Iraq, to set the price of a cylinder provided by AANES at ten dollars, which is the cost price, while it used to be at the value of one dollar, approximately 14,000 Syrian pounds.

Meanwhile, the North Press news agency, close to the SDF, quoted the director of the gas plant at al-Suwaydiya facility in the countryside of Dirik, Akid Abdulmajid, saying that the Autonomous Administration is about to import gas from Iraqi Kurdistan to meet the needs of the residents in northern Syria and that it will be at “the cost price.”


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