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(Update with Al Jazeera footage in third paragraph.)
Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- A pipeline transporting crude to a refinery in Syria’s central Homs region was attacked, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
“A destructive terrorist group targeted a crude oil pipeline in Tal Al-Shur, northwest of Homs refinery,” the agency reported today, without citing anyone. Three officials at the Syrian Oil Ministry did not wish to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Al Jazeera television showed footage of a large cloud of black smoke emanating from a built-up area of the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs where it said the pipeline was targeted. It also showed crowds chanting anti-government slogans at a nearby funeral of five people killed in the crackdown against protesters.
Syria has been engulfed in a wave of protests calling for regime change since the beginning of the year. The government’s violent response to demonstrations by pro-reform revolts elsewhere in the Middle East has led the U.S. and European Union to impose additional sanctions against President Bashar al- Assad’s administration. Some sanctions target the Arab country’s energy industry.’
Energy installations have previously been targeted during the unrest, mostly in Homs. A pipeline near Homs was targeted on July 29, interrupting the flow of crude for two days, according to SANA, which blamed “terrorist” groups.
Syria, which is trying to halt a decline in its crude production, pumped 2.4 percent less oil in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2010. The nation produced 103 million barrels until the end of September, averaging 378,091 barrels a day, the Oil Ministry said Nov. 22.
The United Nations estimated on Dec. 1 that more than 4,000 people have been killed since March when protesters began taking to the streets inspired by movements that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
--Editors: Raj Rajendran, Bruce Stanley.
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