Islamic State militants seize oil field
DAMASCUS, September 7, 2015 – Islamic State militants have seized the Jazal oilfield, the Syrian regime’s last significant oilfield still under state control, Reuters reported on Monday.
Jazal lies near the ancient city of Palmyra, occupied and mostly destroyed by Islamic State militants last week. The medium-sized field was secured by the Syrian Army last June, which admitted to fighting a battle over the weekend with militants in the area.
Social media reports suggested that the fighting had intensified at Jazal, and that control had been ceded to the Islamic State militants.
“The regime has lost the last oilfield in Syria,” the UK-based NGO the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The oil industry had been key to the Syrian economy, with a daily output of about 380,000 barrels, until fighting began three years ago. Islamic State militants routinely produce and sell black market oil at greatly inflated prices to an estimated profit of $2 million per day.