The opposition controls more than 70 percent of the oil wells in Northeastern Syria, where Al Arabiya’s cameras were able to go and look around.
Fighters are patrolling the area regularly to protect the oil wells and facilities, Abu Ahmed – a commander in the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) – told Al Arabiya.
Most of the oil facilities are not working due to imposed sanctions by the international community. However, Oweinan al-Jerba – another FSA commander – said the opposition’s plan was to get them working again.
“We are currently negotiating with Kurds in neighboring areas for shared control over those wells in order to get the oil production started,” he told Al Arabiya.
However, the government of President Bashar al-Assad still controls the Baniyas and Tartus ports, which are a main export portal.
Even though the Syrian opposition may not be able to generate revenue, their control over the wells is sure to put pressure on the Assad regime, which has killed more than 70,000 people since the March 2011 uprising, the U.N. says.