Syria's oil output rises in first half year

14:06, August 04, 2011      

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Syria's oil output in the first half of 2011 increased year on year despite the chronic nationwide unrest, authorities said Wednesday, while the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement on Syria to call on all parties concerned to stop violence.

Syria's oil production in the period was estimated at 70.092 million barrels with an average of 387,250 barrels per day (bpd), a rise of 957 bpd year on year, Oil and Gas Minister Sufian Allaw said.

Allaw said Syria had exported 27.793 million barrels of light and heavy oil in the period.

He said Syria's gas production in the six months was about 5.158 billion cubic meters with an average of 30,29 million cubic meters per day, up 3 million cubic meters per day over the same period of last year.

Oil exports are among the main earners of foreign currency for the Syrian economy that has been dented severely by more than four months of unrest.

The insurgence particularly hit the tourism sector that accounted for roughly 12 percent of the country's gross domestic product last year and brought in 8 billion U.S. dollars in hard currency.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council approved a presidential statement on Syria, condemning Syrian authorities' use of force against civilians and called on all parties involved to stop the violence.

Lebanon, a non-permanent member of the Council and Syria's neighbor, disassociated itself from the statement.

In the statement read out by Hardeep Singh Puri, India's UN ambassador and this month's Council president, the Council condemned "widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities."

It called for "an immediate end to all violence and urge(d) all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions."

According to the statement, the Council is stressing the only solution in Syria is through "an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expressions and peaceful assembly."

The 15-member Council has previously failed to adopt a presidential statement or a resolution on Syria, which has been experiencing violence since mid-March.

Heavy casualties have been recorded on both the protesters' side and that of government security forces.

Shortly after the adoption, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement, welcoming the presidential statement and calling it "the clear message" of the international community. Also, he urged Syrian authorities to immediately stop using violence against their own people.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saluted the presidential statement, saying "this is a turning point in the attitude of the international community (toward Syria)."

Meanwhile, activists said Syrian army tanks took control over the Orontes Square in the violence-hit city of Hama in central Syria.

Abdul-Karim al-Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights, told Xinhua by phone that army tanks, which were stationed at the entrances of Hama, had entered the city and took full control of Orontes Square, while electricity and telecommunications were cut off during the operation.

Al-Rihawi put the number of civilians who had been killed nationwide during the past two days at 34, as thousands of people took to the streets for overnight rallies demanding the downfall of the leadership.

However, the number couldn't be verified as there was no official information on civilian casualties.

Syrian authorities blamed the nearly five-month unrest on armed groups and extremists backed by a foreign conspiracy that aims to sow a sectarian rift in the country.

Meanwhile, Syria's state TV said late Wednesday that armed terrorist groups attacked public and private properties in the northeastern province of Deir al-Zour.

It said the groups attacked a police station near al-Furat Petroleum Company, kidnapped three guards and seized their weapons.

It also said gunmen killed one law-enforcement member and burned his body in Deir al-Zour.

State TV cited the police as saying terrorists in Hama city killed or kidnapped some local police officers.

Since the unrest began, Hama and Deir al-Zour have been hotbeds of demonstrations, with thousands protesting every week to demand the ouster of the current leadership.



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