A blackout has reportedly plunged all of Syria into darkness Friday into Saturday, with Syria's state-run SANA announcing the nationwide power outage is due to an attack on a gas site and pipeline in southern Damascus.
Into the overnight hours, electricity reportedly returned to much of the capital of Damascus, while the Minister of Electricity Ghassan al-Zamil vowed to restore the rest of the country's power in a matter of "hours" as technicians are on the scene.
The timing of the event suggests possible Israeli covert sabotage, given the blackout began just as the second batch of fuel trucks was crossing into Lebanon from Syria. Earlier in the day reports emerged that an Iranian tanker began offloading fuel at Syria's Baniyas port.
It was part of Hezbollah's promise to get Iranian fuel into Lebanon amid the country's energy crisis, which has seen its own severe blackouts hit major cities and towns over much of the past month.
There's also the possibility of an attack on Syria's infrastructure by remnant anti-Assad insurgent groups, also as there's again in recent weeks been renewed fierce fighting centered on the southern Syria city of Deraa.
According to a popular Syria blogger and commentator, "Sources in southern Damascus reported hearing an explosion seconds before the blackout. All of this happened as the second batch of tankers carrying Iranian fuel was crossing into Lebanon."
#Iranian tanker #FAXON departed #Syria after delivering its oil that was brought to #Lebanon by trucks. Now, we see a foreign-flagged tanker on the #Baniyas SBM delivering crude oil it picked up from Sirri Island, Iran. This tanker is spoofing off of #Cyprus. #UANIShipping #OOTT pic.twitter.com/67bopdtvzF— Claire Jungman (@claire_jungman) September 17, 2021
Speculating on the question of a possible external sabotage operation that caused the blackout, given the deeply suspicious timing, geopolitical commentator and Syria watcher Aaron Maté said, "Just as it helps Hezbollah bring desperately needed fuel into Lebanon, Syria suffers a sabotage attack that leads to complete blackout."
"This is on top of the regular power shortages caused primarily by US sanctions & the 10-year dirty war," Maté added.