AMMAN (Reuters) - Residents said bomb explosions damaged two minor gas pipelines in eastern Syria on Wednesday, adding that it was the first attack on oil infrastructure since a four-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The overnight explosions occurred in a heavily guarded area in al-Tayana and Busaira regions east of the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor, near the border with Iraq's Sunni heartland, said the sources in the tribal province.
Large protests against Assad's autocratic rule have taken place in the province.
"People are suspecting that the regime is behind the attacks to discredit the democracy cause after months of peaceful demonstrations," Sheikh Nawaf al-Khatib, a prominent tribal leader, told Reuters by phone.
"It is very difficult to hit those pipelines with more troops deploying in Deir al-Zor lately."
There was no immediate comment from the authorities.
The east, which accounts for all Syria's 380,000 barrels per day of oil output is among the poorest regions in the country, seeing little investment from oil revenues.
It has suffered a water crisis in the last six years, which experts say is largely caused by the mismanagement of resources and corruption.
(Additional reporting by Oliver Holmes; editing by Elizabeth Piper)