State news agency blames terrorists for blast on pipeline carrying oil to refinery in restive Homs province
An explosion has hit a Syrian pipeline carrying oil to a refinery in the restive Homs province, activists and the state-run news agency said.
No casualties were reported and it was not clear who was behind the blast. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pipeline had been bombed, and the state-run news agency Sana blamed terrorists.
"An armed terrorist group committed an act of sabotage," Sana reported. A government official said the blast caused a fire that had been burning for four hours.
In July there were two similar blasts on Syrian pipelines, with no injuries. Nomair Makhlouf, the general director of the Syrian Oil Company, said the pipeline hit this time served domestic requirements and carried 140,000 barrels a day.
Syria is trying to crush a popular uprising that is turning more violent as protesters take up arms. Sanctions from Turkey, the Arab League and the European Union are aimed at squeezing the Syrian economy and forcing the regime to halt the bloodshed. The EU has banned oil imports from Syria, a move that costs the regime millions of dollars a day.
On Wednesday, in a rare interview, Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, said he had not ordered the brutal suppression of the uprising, and insisted only a "crazy person" would kill his own people.
"I did my best to protect the people," he told ABC's Barbara Walters in Damascus. "You feel sorry for the life that has been lost, but you don't feel guilty when you don't kill people."