Many Syrian civilians have begun refining oil due to the drastic decline in production by professional oil refineries in Syria. The conditions in these makeshift refineries are causing enormous health and environmental pollution problems in the region.
The PAX report Scorched Earth and Charred Lives shows a sharp increase in the number of makeshift refineries in Syria’s oil rich Deir ez-Zor governorate, in the past four years, with the most recent analysis based on satellite images from June 2016. There are likely tens of thousands of makeshift refineries in the region, in which adults and an alarming number of children work. The consequences for public health and the environment are huge.