DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria
Makeshift oil refineries used by the YPG/PKK terror group in eastern Syria cause significant harm to public health and the environment, locals told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Air pollution caused by these facilities, which are among the terror group's main sources of income, has caused a marked increase in the number of people suffering from cancer and chest diseases in the Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah provinces, said one local pulmonologist asked not to be named due to security concerns.
He added that cases of shortness of breath have particularly increased in the region, which has been under the terror group's occupation since 2017 and possesses the richest oil and natural gas sources in Syria.
Also speaking Anadolu Agency, an agricultural engineer from Deir er-Zor drew attention to the hazardous waste and gas produced by the refineries.
While the waste damages farmlands, the gas poisons the air and plants, he said, adding that many livestock also have also died after consuming the polluted plants.
Controlling over 70% of Syria's oil resources, the YPG/PKK operates makeshift oil refineries that have polluted water sources, along with the air and soil, threatening public health in Abu-Hamam, Diban, al-Tayyane, al-Subna, al-Azbe, and Garia regions.
While the Arab population of Deir ez-Zor, which constitutes the majority of the province, live in poverty, the YPG/PKK makes significant income by selling the oil it refines at these plants.
Parts of Deir ez-Zor to the east of the Euphrates River are under the occupation of the YPG/PKK terrorist organization, while the city center and eastern and western parts of the province are under the control of the Assad regime and Iran-backed groups.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.