U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces seize key Al Omar oil field in east

World Sunday 22/October/2017 17:10 PM
By: Times News Service
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces seize key Al Omar oil field in east

Beirut: U.S.-backed militias said they captured Syria's largest oil field on Sunday, pressing their assault against IS in the east of the country.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they took Al Omar field on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river in the early hours. "Our forces managed to liberate the fields without notable damages," said Lilwa Al Abdallah, spokeswoman for the offensive in Deir Al Zor province.
The militants holed up in buildings in a nearby district, where the SDF was trying to hunt them down, she said.
With U.S.-led jets and special forces, the SDF has been battling in Deir Al Zor bordering Iraq. The alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias has focused on territory east of the river, which bisects the oil-rich province.
The Syrian army, with Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, has been waging its own separate offensive against IS, mostly to the west of the river.
The U.S.-led coalition and the Russian military have been holding deconfliction meetings - to prevent clashes between planes and troops - though the two offensives have sometimes come into conflict.
IS has lost vast territory across Syria, and has now come under attack in its last footholds in a strip of the Euphrates valley and the desert in Deir Al Zor.
The SDF declared victory over the militants in their former headquarters in Raqqa city this week. SDF fighters would now move to the frontlines in Deir Al Zor, speeding up the battle in eastern Syria.
Last month, the Kurdish-led militias captured a major natural gas field upstream of Sunday's advance.
Al Omar oil field lies some 10 km (6.21 miles) north of the town of Al Mayadin, which government troops and their allies took earlier this month. The town had turned into a major base for IS militants after the U.S.-backed offensive drove them out of Raqqa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS militants who had withdrawn from the oil field mounted a counter-attack overnight against government forces. The militants made some gains around Al Mayadin, the Britain-based monitor said.
But a Syrian military source denied this, saying there was no significant attack and fighting raged on at the same pace.
Any attack by the IS militants there was a "desperate attempt", the source said. "The Syrian Arab Army is attacking, hitting Daesh (IS) positions...and advancing," the source said.