More Iranian fuel heading to Lebanon via Syria

More Iranian fuel tankers heading for Lebanon via Syria, in Hezbollah PR coup
2 min read
20 September, 2021
Two tankers carrying Iranian fuel have been spotted on their way to Syria with fuel earmarked for the Lebanese market.
Lebanon's fuel crisis has allowed Hezbollah to utilise its soft power [Getty Images]

Two tankers carrying Iranian fuel are heading to Lebanon via the Syrian port of Baniyas, according to monitors on Monday.

The ships were spotted by TankerTrackers, a website tracking maritime oil trade, and follows another delivery last week to Lebanon, which has been starved of fuel.

Hezbollah commissioned the supplies last month in a bid to bring fuel to Lebanon. The Islamist movement routed them through Syria in order to circumvent sanctions on Iranian oil.

One of the tankers has been located two days ago south of the Red Sea and is on its way to the Mediterranean, where is it expected to be unloaded at Syria's Baniyas port.

The second one is allegedly underway, but its location and size are not known. The last tanker commissioned is expected in the coming days on the same route.

Lebanon is in the throes of a crippling financial crisis that has witnessed the value of the Lebanese currency plummet by 90 percent since 2019.

Unable to pay for imports, the country has been paralysed by the lack of fuel to run power plants, which has led to blackouts in homes, businesses, and even the Lebanese parliament.

Last month, Lebanese political party Hezbollah announced its intention to bring fuel from Iran to ease the nationwide fuel crisis. Iran is Hezbollah's patron and closest ally in the region.

Analysis
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The first shipment of Iranian fuel to Lebanon took place earlier this month, carrying an estimated 33,000 tonnes.

Unable to moor in Lebanon due to international sanctions against Iran, the tanker instead headed for the Syrian port of Baniyas.

From Syria, the fuel was trucked to Lebanon on 16 September through an informal crossing at the Syrian-Lebanese border. Meanwhile, on 17 September the Lebanese government received a first gas and oil shipment of 31,000 tons from Iraq as part of a one year-deal to supply Lebanon's main electricity provider.

As a long-time player in the Syrian war, Hezbollah is well-positioned to organise oil deliveries through Syria, which has been relying on Iranian fuel imports for years.

Iran has been the Assad regime's main source of fuel throughout the Syria war, despite its own energy problems.

Lebanon has blamed its own energy shortages on smugglers exporting subsidised fuel to Syria.