Syria petrol price jumps 18%: state media

The price of petrol in Syria rose by 18 percent on Tuesday to 65 Syrian pounds ($0.70) per litre, state media reported, as violence across the war-torn country pushed the economy deeper into crisis.

The usual long queues outside Damascus fuel stations dropped off drastically as the price rise, the second in four months, came into effect.

The average waiting time at the capital's fuel outlets fell to half an hour from the usual several hours, witnesses said. Petrol was priced at 55 Syrian pounds a litre before the latest hike became effective.

The Syrian authorities have regularly blamed the fuel shortages on difficulties in transporting fuel from oilfields to sales outlets and sabotage by rebels.

Prior to the revolt that erupted in mid-March 2011, Syria produced some 420,000 barrels of oil per day. That has since been reduced by half, with rebels seizing control of several oil fields in the oil-rich east of Syria.

An uprising that broke out against President Bashar al-Assad later morphed into an insurgency after the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent.

Some 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the UN says.