The Islamic State allowed fuel shipments to pass from areas of its control into rebel-held territory in northern Syria Monday after weeks of a blockade that resulted in a widespread fuel crisis, interrupting medical services and threatening a humanitarian disaster.
The decision to reopen the road was a result of rebels cutting off the road that allows the flow of foodstuffs into IS-controlled areas.
“The food cutoff effected even IS-controlled areas in A-Raqqa…[where] the price of foodstuffs rose,” Wael Adil, a citizen journalist in Aleppo city, tells Noura Hourani.
Q: Why was IS forced to open the road to receive food? Isn’t there agriculture in areas under IS control?
“IS needs fruits and vegetables and other provisions. There is indeed agriculture in the areas under its control, but not enough to meet its needs. The food cutoff effected even IS-controlled areas in A-Raqqa, where the price of diesel fell and that of foodstuffs rose.”
Q: Some have accused rebel brigades of monopolizing fuel, which led to shortages. Is this true?
“No it’s not. But the rebel brigades have an operations room that was formed to solve the fuel crisis, which would give priority to the rebels’ needs because the fronts become totally inactive without fuel. But it was also distributing fuel to meet civilians’ needs.”
Q: Do you think that the road will remain open?
“There is no official agreement between the opposition and IS. But the rebels announced that the road would remain open from its side, so I suppose that IS might keep the road open on its side as well.”