Northern Cyprus Tries To Fight Off Syrian Oil Slick

(@FahadShabbir)

Northern Cyprus tries to fight off Syrian oil slick

An oil slick spreading from a Syrian power plant drew closer Wednesday to the breakaway north of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus despite urgent efforts to stop the spread

Nicosia, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 1st Sep, 2021 ) :An oil slick spreading from a Syrian power plant drew closer Wednesday to the breakaway north of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus despite urgent efforts to stop the spread.

Environmental and transport officials in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) -- recognised only by Ankara -- said the oil had approached to within 15 nautical miles (28 kilometres) of the divided island's northeastern tip.

The North's development and transport minister Resmiye Canaltay said Tuesday that shifting winds had temporarily pushed the fuel back toward Syria.

But the minister added that he still expected at least some of the oil to reach northern Cyprus on Friday.

"There will be major damage to our habitat," Canaltay told local television.

TRNC environmental officials said up to 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil had spilled from the Baniyas Thermal Station on Syria's Mediterranean coast.

They added that marine life was in particular danger because some of the oil had started to solidify and sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Republic of Cyprus -- whose overwhelming majority are Greek Cypriots and which has been a European Union member since 2004 -- has effective control over the southern two-thirds of the island.

The TRNC government has relied almost exclusively on financial and other assistance from Ankara since breaking away in 1974.

Turkey has sent two ships to the region to help contain and recover the oil.

Local officials also planned to send out drones to survey the affected area and assess where it might reach the shore.

Officials in war-torn Syria have provided few details about what may have caused oil to start leaking from the fuel oil-operated plant last week.

Syria's electricity minister had told a pro-government newspaper Monday that the size of the leak ranged from two to four tonnes of fuel.