A large explosion rocked the Arab Gas Pipeline in Syria on August 24 causing a blackout in the country’s capital Damascus and multiple other cities and towns.
The explosion occurred between the towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra the a result of a ‘terrorist attack’, according to Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem. The incident led to a pressure drop and cascading shutdowns of the country’s power stations. Authorities almost immediately extinguished the fire, but as of August 25 morning blackouts were still seen in many towns and even in the capital, with some power restored to hospitals and government buildings.
This is the sixth time that stretch of the gas pipeline has been hit by an explosion over the course of the Syrian conflict, Kharboutli added, refusing to speculate about possible causes of the latest blast. The US envoy for Syrian affairs James Jeffrey insisted that the explosion was likely an attack by ISIS.
Earlier, ISIS claimed responsibility for several drone and rocket attacks on Syria’s oil and gas infrastructure in the Homs desert. In April, a mysterious explosion also erupted on a natural gas pipeline near al-Shadadi in the province of al-Hasakah. This area is in the hands of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition. Then, some sources also accused ISIS cells operating in the area. However, there are many more than just one suspect.
In January, Damascus said divers had planted explosives on offshore pipelines belonging to the Banias refinery on the Mediterranean coast, but the damage had not halted operations. This attack was likely conducted by Israeli forces.
The terrorist attack in Syria took place two days after a top Iranian nuclear official has for the first time described the July 2nd fire at the Natanz nuclear facility as sabotage.
“The explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility was a result of sabotage operations,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said adding that “Security authorities will reveal in due time the reason behind the blast.”
The fire at Natanz caused severe damage, setting back the development of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. On top of this, Iran was targeted by a series of strange explosions and fires at various military and industrial sites across the country.
These developments together with the attacks in Syria and the blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, raise more and more concerns that Iran and countries from the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance became a target of a major Israeli-led or even US covert destabilization campaign.