Photo Credit: Tomoir III via Flickr
"Drone attack" (illustrative)

Three people were killed Saturday night in an attack on an oil tanker near the Syrian port city of Banias, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syrian officials did not confirm the report.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported Saturday night that an oil tanker erupted in flames off the Port of Banias near Tartous. Syria said the oil tanker was attacked by an armed drone coming from the direction of Lebanon.


The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said in a statement that “a fire that erupted in one of tanks of an oil tanker is believed to be an attack by a drone coming from the direction of Lebanese territorial waters.”

“Firefighting teams were able to extinguish the fire fully,” the English-language SANA site claimed.

According to the UK-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the vessel was an Iranian fuel tanker.

Iranian reporters cited security officials who said that although the vessel was Iranian, it was sailing under the flag of Panama. Two projectiles were fired at the tanker, according to Iran’s Al-Alam.

Israel’s Hebrew-language Channel N12 news team reported the tanker was hit by an air-to-ground missile.

The port of Banias is located halfway between Tartous and Latakia. One of the largest oil refineries in Syria is situated next to the port.


Syria: Tanker Fire the Result of Safety Blunder, Not Military Attack

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.