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Pro-US forces seize key oil field from IS

/ 07:20 AM October 23, 2017

BEIRUT — US-backed forces on Sunday said that they had captured Syria’s largest oil field from the Islamic State (IS) group.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition in a race with Russian-backed Syrian troops to seize parts of the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province, said it was in full control of the Al-Omar field.

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The SDF, which has already driven IS from Deir el-Zour’s main natural gas field and smaller oil fields, said government forces were just 3 kilometers away from the fields.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said progovernment forces had retreated from the area around Al-Omar field after coming under heavy fire from IS militants.

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Earlier this month, progovernment forces seized the town of Mayadeen, just across the Euphrates River.

IS captured Al-Omar in 2014, when the group swept across large areas in Syria and neighboring Iraq. The field was estimated to produce around 9,000 barrels a day, making it a key source of revenue for the extremists.

Its current potential is unknown, following a series of strikes on IS-held oil facilities by the US-led coalition.

IS has suffered a series of major setbacks in recent months, including the loss of the Syrian city of Raqqa, once the extremists’ self-styled capital, and the Iraqi city of Mosul. Most of the territory the group once held has been seized by an array of Syrian and Iraqi forces.

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TAGS: Al-Omar field, Islamic State, Syrian conflict, Syrian Democratic Forces
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