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Originally published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 3:40 AM

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Syria says its oil production plummeted since war

Syria's oil minister says the country's production has fallen drastically over the past two years because of the crisis.

The Associated Press

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DAMASCUS, Syria —

Syria's oil minister says the country's production has fallen drastically over the past two years because of the crisis.

Suleiman Abbas told lawmakers Wednesday that daily oil production stands at 20,000 barrels, roughly 5 percent of the 380,000 barrels produced daily before the March 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad began.

Oil was the main source of revenue for the government until the European Union imposed an embargo to punish Damascus for its crackdown on the opposition. The crisis turned into a civil war, in which the rebels have captured much of northern and eastern Syria, where most oil fields are located, depriving the government of much needed cash and fuel for its military machine.

The EU lifted its oil embargo last month to allow crude exports from rebel-held territory.

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