The Bashar Assad regime has once again turned to the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) for oil amid an ongoing gasoline crisis.
According to local sources who spoke to Anadolu Agency, the regime, struggling with the recent shortage, reached a deal with the YPG to buy crude oil.
As part of the agreement, the YPG will sell oil extracted from Tanak, one of Syria's largest oil fields near the Iraqi border, at a price of $41 a barrel. About 70% of Syria's oil resources lie within the territories currently occupied by the U.S.-backed YPG, in the eastern and southern parts of the country. The terrorist organization holds the eastern part of Deir el-Zour province, one of Syria's largest energy sources. There are 11 large oilfields on the eastern side of the Euphrates, which cut the province in two. These oilfields make up around one-third of Syria's energy resources.
There is, however, no reaction yet from Washington, which is backing the YPG in the pretext of fighting Daesh, as it previously gave no quarter to oil trade between the two actors.
Earlier this month, the U.S.-led coalition hit the regime's tankers in Deir el-Zour involved in oil trade with the YPG. The coalition forces targeted the regime's oil tankers, which were transporting their cargo on the Euphrates River, with heavy machine guns. They later seized the tankers. The incident came after civilian protests against the YPG's arbitrary usage and sale of Deir el-Zour's oil resources.
In April, a gasoline crisis broke out in the regime-held areas. In the provinces of Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia and Tartus, there are long lines of cars waiting in front of gas stations.
The YPG has been carrying out negotiations with the Assad regime since 2017 about the occupied oil fields. In July 2017, the YPG handed over control of oil production in the Rimelan region to the regime following a revenue-sharing deal between both sides.
Also, in February, the YPG agreed on a deal with the regime to transfer oil extracted from occupied areas to the regime-dominated areas in Deir el-Zour. According to the agreement, regime-affiliated companies, operating west of Deir el-Zour, were expected to lay pipes under the Euphrates to transport oil to the war-torn country's eastern provinces. The agreement aimed for a rapid transfer of oil, which was previously carried by boats.