DAMASCUS, Syria, May 24 (UPI) -- The Syrian government has lost about $4 billion since September because of sanctions placed on oil exports, the country's petroleum minister said.
The U.S. and European governments placed an oil embargo on Syria last year in response to ongoing violence. Human rights groups have accused Damascus of war crimes during the ongoing crisis, though the government maintains it is dealing with domestic terrorism.
Syrian Petroleum Minister Sufian Allaw said the oil sector lost $4 billion because of sanctions since September, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reports.
He said his ministry was working to find ways to offset energy shortages in the local market, calling on citizens to find alternative energy resources.
Caracas, he said, is preparing a shipment of diesel for Syria, noting a tanker loaded with 35,000 tons of fuel arrived at a Syrian port from Venezuela on Monday.
Damascus is also looking to Russia, Iran and Algeria as possible alternative sources of natural gas.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its report for May, said political factors in the Sudans, Yemen and Syria were to blame for the total loss of 140,000 barrels per day from global energy markets.