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Cyprus warns Syrian oil slick could reach its shores in next day

In this satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc., the Baniyas Thermal Station, a major oil refinery, is seen in Baniyas, Syria, June 20, 2021. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)
In this satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc., the Baniyas Thermal Station, a major oil refinery, is seen in Baniyas, Syria, June 20, 2021. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — An oil slick believed to have originated from a power plant inside one of Syria’s oil refineries could reach Cyprus’ northeastern tip in the next 24 hours, the Mediterranean island nation’s Fisheries and Marine Research Department says.

The Department says the most recent computer model indicates the oil spill could affect Apostolos Andreas Cape in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus by tomorrow evening.

It says information and photographs received from ships in the region show the slick is a thin film of oil, rather than thick crude.

The Cypriot government has informed Turkish Cypriot authorities about the slick’s progress and is ready to offer any assistance.

Syria’s state news agency said last week that the spill occurred after fuel leaked from a tank at the Baniyas Thermal Station.

Syria’s oil resources are mostly outside of government-controlled areas, but its two refineries are under government control. This makes Damascus reliant on Iran for fuel, but US Treasury sanctions have hindered the supply network, which spans Syria, Iran, and Russia.

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