U.S. backed forces seize largest ISIS oil field


Terrified residents said they watched the slaughter from their windows or in the streets. By the time they left three weeks later, more than 100 civilians had been killed - shot or beheaded, their bodies dumped in farms and ditches.

USA -backed fighters captured Syria's largest oil field from the Islamic State group Sunday, marking a major advance against the extremists in an area coveted by pro-government forces.

US-led coalition air strikes destroyed the field in 2015, after the jihadists had reaped estimated oil sale revenues from it of between $1.7 million and $5.1 million a month, according to the coalition.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed that the SDF members "managed to enter" the oilfield on Sunday.

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The apparent revenge killings in the town of Qaryatayn underscore the ability of the extremists to inflict heavy losses even when they're in retreat - and portend more violence as they fight to hang on to their last strongholds in Syria.

The Central Military Media, a pro-military media outlet, said Monday Syrian troops and allied militias have encircled the T-2 pumping station in southern Deir el-Zour province following clashes with the militants.

The fight against Islamic State has taken place amid a wider, multi-sided civil war between the government of President Bashar Assad, who is backed by Iran and Russian Federation, and an array of rebel groups supported by other powers. The oil field contains roughly a quarter of Syria's oil reserves and had been a significant source of income for the Islamic State as it attempted to build a statelike structure in the vast areas it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.

Syrian troops, backed by Russian warplanes and Iranian-sponsored militias, have retaken almost all of the provincial capital of Deir el-Zour, as well as the town of Mayadeen, which is across the Euphrates River from the Al-Omar field.

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Pro-government media is reporting that Syrian troops have taken up a position allowing them to fire down on a supply route between an Islamic State-held town on the Iraqi border and a nearby desert outpost.

Dillon says SDF fighters are fighting remaining IS militants in a housing complex adjacent to the oil field.

The Syrian observatory said that SDF advanced towards the oilfield after Syrian government forces withdrew from the area following an attack launched by Isis militants.

The SDF has focused its operations in rural Deir Ezzor on the eastern side of the river, and has seized a major natural gas field and smaller oil fields.

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