Islamic State seizes second gas field in Syria this week

A worker walks in the Ebla natural gas plant near Homs, northeast of Damascus.

A worker walks in the Ebla natural gas plant near Homs, northeast of Damascus.

Islamic State militants claim to have gained control of the Jahar gas field in central Homs province from the Syrian army.

The militants posted pictures on social media boasting of the capture, which they now consider part of their ‘Caliphate.’ The photos depict an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) flag raised over the field as well as captured Syrian tanks and weapons, says SITE, a jihadist web monitoring service.

IS says they have captured two tanks, seven four-wheel drive cars, and several machine guns after clashes with regime forces.

Last Thursday, the insurgents took control of the Sha’ar gas field, where they killed at least 30 pro-government soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The militants had taken control of the field back in July before the Syrian army temporarily recaptured it.

“So after the [Sha’ar] company and the [positions] surrounding it became part of the land of the caliphate, the soldiers advanced, conquering new areas, and all praise is due to Allah,” the Islamic State said in a message.

The jihadists have been making a killing with revenues from stolen oil fields and refineries seized in Iraq and Syria over the summer and early autumn. US officials and terrorism experts estimated that profits hovered around $2 million a day in September, before the US-led airstrike campaign on IS strongholds, which is thought to have slashed profits by 70 percent, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

However, most of the airstrikes have so far targeted oil and gas fields on Syrian territory rather than Iraq.

In cooperation with the US, Canada also dropped bombs on purported IS positions near besieged Kobani on Sunday. Though airstrikes have cut into the IS business model, they have so far done little to halt the Sunni extremists’ offensive.

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said.

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria’s northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic “caliphate” after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said.

 
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