Suwayda villagers intercept fuel smugglers


Residents of the village of Ura in rural southwest Suwayda province intercepted a vehicle smuggling diesel fuel locally known as mazot coming from Islamic State-held areas in the northeast of the province on Tuesday, local pro-opposition news outlet Swaida Khabr reported.

Local sources identified the fuel as a thick type produced by manual refining operations, consistent with IS origin, Smart News reported on Wednesday.

Men manning a village-organized checkpoint at the entrance to Ura discovered the smugglers and subsequently destroyed 15 barrels of fuel allegedly headed to areas in the east Daraa countryside 30 kilometers to the west, pro-opposition All4Syria reported on Wednesday.

Villagers in the southern Syrian province have organized several such checkpoints in recent days in an attempt to prevent smuggling, a widespread practice in the south of the country, All4Syria reported. It was not clear why the villagers burned the fuel rather than confiscating and distributing it.

Fuel shortages have impacted civil and military operations across Syria over the past month.

Last month, residents in the south Suwayda town of Al-Qurayya captured 10 smugglers transporting mazot in vehicles that local media alleged belonged to regime air force intelligence and the Syrian Social Nationalist party, Swaida Khabr reported.

The names of several smugglers were published on Swaida Khabr’s Facebook page at that time, prompting some readers of the most recent event to question why similar steps were not taken in Ura on Tuesday.

“You can burn the mazot…and you can’t expose the individuals who are behind these acts…sorry, but what’s your problem with the mazot?” asked reader Mardukh Asse.

Photo courtesy of Swaida Khabr

Moutasem Jamal

Moutasem Jamal studied English literature. He moved to Jordan after losing his job because of violence in his area.

Maria Nelson

Maria Nelson was a 2014-2015 fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad program (CASA I) in Amman, Jordan. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, with a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture.