Syria says rebels attack gas pipeline

  • Article by: BEN HUBBARD
  • Associated Press
  • December 31, 2012 - 5:57 AM

BEIRUT - Syria's state news agency said a "terrorist group" blew up a natural gas pipeline in the country's oil-rich east on Monday.

The government refers to the rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad as terrorists.

The news agency said the blast Monday some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Deir el-Zour caused the loss of around 1.5 million cubic meters of gas. It quoted an Oil Ministry official as saying the station fed electricity plants and a fertilizer factory and that engineers were repairing the leak.

Rebels have repeatedly targeted Syria's oil infrastructure in an effort to sap government finances. Last week, they reported seizing the al-Tanak oil field, also in eastern Syria.

Anti-regime activists say more than 45,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011. Since then, it has evolved into a full-scale civil war with scores of armed groups across the country fighting regime forces.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime activist group, said rebels were clashing with government forces near a number of military bases in the country's north as well as in the central city of Homs and in suburbs southeast of the capital Damascus.

Rebels have made gains in recent months though few expect the war to end soon.

An international plan to end the civil war with a cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government has gone nowhere, mostly because both sides still seek a military victory.

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