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    Gas Pipe Blast Knocks Out Syrian Power


A drop in gas supplies to power stations led to a nationwide blackout.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Gas Pipe Blast Knocks Out Syrian Power

A terrorist attack on the Arab gas pipeline in Syria led to a nationwide blackout, the country's Sana state news agency quoted ministers as saying on August 24.

An explosion occurred at the pipeline in the Damascus area between the suburbs of Al-Dhumayr and Adra in the early hours of August 24, electricity minister Mohammad Kharboutli said. The blast led to a drop in gas supply to power stations, resulting in the blackout, he said. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Power has already been restored to key facilities in Damascus such as hospitals, he said, and authorities are working to gradually bring electricity supply back to normal. The pipeline fire has already been extinguished, according to the Ikhbariya television channel, and repairs will take place.

Syrian petroleum minister Ali Ghanem said the blast had been caused by a terrorist attack.

"After an assessment of the situation, it was determined that the explosion that took place on the gas pipeline ... had been caused by a terrorist attack," he was quoted as saying by Ikhbariya.

 The 1,200-km Arab pipeline supplies gas from Egypt to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is the sixth time an explosion has occurred in the same region, according to Kharboutli. Most of Syria experienced a blackout in 2013, when rebel shells hit the pipeline during the country's civil war.