Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his state-oil company are providing vital energy support to Syrian President Bashar Assad and conducting business with Syrian firms blacklisted by Washington and Brussels, The Wall Street Journal
reported Monday, July 9. That puts Venezuela alongside Russia and Iran in an informal bloc of nations working to stymie the West’s efforts to end Assad’s continuing crackdown on his political opponents. The support centers on diesel fuel sent by Venezuela to Syria, but the deals are structured to bring other benefits, including shielding Syria’s dwindling foreign-exchange reserves. Diesel is crucial for powering Syrian tanks and other military vehicles that are driving the crackdown. Even by conservative estimates, more than 10,000 Syrians have been killed by Damascus’s security forces since the uprising against the regime began 18 months ago.