Poor gasoline quality causes motorcycle breakdowns in Ras al-Ain

Motorcyclists in Ras al-Ain conducting maintenance on their motorcycles due to problems with sudden stops - February 19, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Motorcyclists in Ras al-Ain conducting maintenance on their motorcycles due to problems with sudden stops - February 19, 2024 (Enab Baladi)


The city of Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah, is witnessing a noticeable increase in motorcycle malfunctions, raising concern among riders and threatening their safety on the roads. Some link these issues to the poor quality of gasoline available in the city, which comes unrefined and crudely distilled.

Passing by the motorcycle repair shops in Ras al-Ain, the sight of motorcycles waiting on the side of the road for maintenance due to recurring breakdowns is clear.

Jad Saber, a motorcycle owner, complained about the frequent malfunctions of his motorcycle, explaining that the most common problems are clogged fuel nozzles and greasy gasoline filters due to the thickness of the fuel.

He pointed out the difficulty of the situation due to the lack of alternatives, as it is difficult to refill with European or Turkish gasoline, which costs 50 Turkish lira per liter, while the price of Syrian gasoline coming from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controlled areas is 13,000 Syrian pounds per liter (approximately 28 Turkish lira).

Issa Khalo, another motorcycle owner, expressed his fear of using his motorcycle to go to work because of the frequent breakdowns. He mentioned that his motorcycle often stops working suddenly while driving due to a high proportion of diesel and oils mixed with the gasoline.

He also recounted a previous incident where his motorcycle was struck from behind by a car due to a sudden stop in the Ras al-Ain market. He called for a solution to the fuel issue in the area since many residents rely on motorcycles.

A young man repairing a motorcycle in the city of Ras al-Ain - February 23, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

A young man repairing a motorcycle in the city of Ras al-Ain – February 23, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Fuel sources

Ras al-Ain relies on fuel coming from areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is of low quality, and is distilled or filtered using primitive methods through burners, transported via smuggling routes.

This crude fuel poses a risk to the environment and public health, as it contains a high concentration of sulfur and heavy metals, and its combustion produces toxic and polluting gases.

Harmful impurities in gasoline

Odai al-Marai, the owner of a motorcycle repair shop in Ras al-Ain, spoke to Enab Baladi about the frequent malfunctions faced by motorcycles in the city, noting that he receives many motorcycles daily with various failures, many due to the use of low-quality gasoline.

Al-Marai added that the gasoline available in Ras al-Ain contains many impurities that lead to clogged fuel nozzles and fuel pump malfunctions, and could damage some engine parts, like the piston and cylinder head.

He also warned of the dangers of using this type of gasoline to the safety of motorcycle riders, calling on concerned authorities to monitor the quality of fuel available in the market to ensure the safety of citizens.

Ziad Maliki, the official spokesperson for the local council, told Enab Baladi that fuels coming through smuggling routes from SDF-controlled areas are often of poor quality and unfit for use in motorcycles and generators.

He explained that the local council has allowed the importation of Turkish and European gasoline into the region, which is available and does not cause problems for motorcycles but is priced higher than the fuels coming from SDF-controlled areas.

Maliki pointed out that the Directorate of Fuel and the Patrol are conducting tours of fuel stations in the area to verify the quality of fuels and work on finding solutions suitable for everyone.

From time to time, fuel crises recur in Ras al-Ain, the most notable of which was in August 2023 when the city and its vast countryside experienced a significant shortage of fuels due to the cutoff of most types.

Several types of gasoline are found in Ras al-Ain, the most important being “butane,” priced at 17,000 Syrian pounds per liter, “distilled” at 16,000 Syrian pounds, and the regular type at 13,000 Syrian pounds.

Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad are located adjacent to the Turkish border, controlled by the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), and are surrounded by frontlines with the SDF. The Turkish border is their only outlet to the outside world.


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