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ISIL captures biggest oil field in eastern Syria: activists

English.news.cn   2014-07-04 05:37:00

DAMASCUS, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured the biggest oil plant in eastern Syria on Thursday, according to activists.

The al-Qaida splinter group seized al-Omar oil field, the biggest oil field in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zour, after the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front withdrew from the field, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

ISIL and Nusra Front have been fighting for control over areas in Deir al-Zour, where large chunks of land in that oil-rich province have spiraled out of the government control.

The al-Omar field constitutes of a gas plant and a satiation for generating electricity. The field, with a production capacity of 75,000 oil barrels a day, was captured by the rebels last November after clashes with the Syrian military.

ISIL seized the plant just two days after the ultra-jihadist organization captured the key town of Bukamal in Deir al-Zour on the borders with Iraq. The group has also advanced into other nearby towns after other jihadist groups pledged alliance to it.

ISIL is the richest jihadist organization in the world, according to a recent report by the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV. ISIL' s budget equals that of small countries, as it now controls the majority of the oil fields in eastern and northern Syria. Aside from dues their loyalists pay them regularly, ISIL also looted a total of 425 million U.S. dollars from banks in Iraq's al-Musul city after storming it last month.

The report said that the organization has been receiving funds over the past 10 years from rich people and organizations in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. ISIL's overall wealth exceeds two billion U.S dollars.

The new victory of ISIL come just a couple of days after the organization declared to establish an Islamic state in areas under their control in Syria and Iraq.

As ISIL is now growing more resourceful, observers believe that the infighting between this al-Qaida splinter group and other jihadist groups, which rejected to pledge alliance to ISIL inside Syria, would escalate. The Observatory said that more than 7,000 rebels and civilians have been killed as a result of the rebel-on- rebel fighting since earlier this year.

The al-Qaida breakaway group now controls areas that stretch from Nineveh and part of al-Anbar region in western Iraq to the northern countryside of Syria's northwestern province of Aleppo, bordering Turkey.

Its control also stretch from northern countryside of Deir al- Zour to the south of al-Hasaka province, in addition to large swathes of the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour and the entire western countryside of that oil-rich province toward the al- Raqqa province, the group's main base in Syria.

Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who commands tens of thousands of fighters, the group said that its goal is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and to fight the Shiite government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose top ranks are from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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