The crackdown on the Syrian uprising has intensified in the eastern oil region around Deir Az-Zour. According to the FT,

The towns of Mayadin and Burhama were attacked on Wednesday, according to the Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist group, with tanks and machine guns used during mass arrest campaigns.

Another local resident said she had counted about 50 tanks stationed outside villages along the Euphrates, with the sound of gunfire and evidence of some houses burnt down.

“Almost all the Deir Ezzor region is now occupied by the army,” Mr Othman said.

Meanwhile, Shell continues to drill and pump oil out of the wells that surround Mayadin, Burhama and Deir Az-Zour itself. Operating in this region in a context of full-scale uprising and military occupation means that Shell – through its joint venture Al-Furat Petroleum – must be co-ordinating closely with the Syrian military. Especially as at least one local gas pipeline was targeted and blown up in July, just north-east of Mayadin. Its unclear whether this was a Shell/Al-Furat pipeline, or a Total-controlled pipeline.

Syrian tanks patrolling the empty streets of Deir Az-Zour

Despite talk of imminent EU sanctions, Shell is preparing to export more crude from Syria. The Anglo-Dutch company has already chartered the Neverland Star to collect an 80,000 tonne cargo of crude. Worth around $50 million, the shipment will be purchased and collected from Sytrol, the Syrian state oil marketing company controlled by the President, on Friday September 2nd.

Maps of Shell's pipelines and wells

Shell's operations in Syria in the Deir Az-zour region, currently under military assault