When ISIS was at its peak, Syria’s oil region was within ISIS territory. A major source of revenue was from Syrian oil, refined in improvised refineries, smuggled into Turkey. Google search. Since the oil region is not within Assad’s control, the regime needs oil.
The oil in Iran’s tanker, the Adrian Darya, can be legally sold to Turkish entities, which can smuggle it to the forbidden original buyer, the Assad regime. But Turkish interdiction of this outbound activity is much more practical than the previous inbound. The middlemen are within the domain of Turkish law enforcement. Hence if the ship actually docks in Mersin,
- Some hands are being greased, or
- Turkey is the replacement buyer.
- Is the oil still destined for Syria, or is it now for domestic consumption within Turkey? Has Ankara a plan to fudge the paperwork?
- If it is going to Syria, it comes at a price to Assad. Perhaps more life for Idlib?
- Will the Adrian Darya dock at Mersin, with smuggling go through Turkish territory — or will the ship anchor in international waters nearby, relying on tramps to ferry oil to Assad-controlled Syria?
This sounds like the old switcheroo. What’s your guess?