Damascus: Islamic State (IS) militants have captured a key oil field in central Syria, a monitor group reported on Monday. The fall of the al-Jazal oil field in the Homs province came after intense fighting with government troops, Xinhua quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying. The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said al-Jazal was the last oil field under government control.
The government had already lost the oil and gas fields in Deir al-Zour. Kurdish militants in northern Syria also control the country’s largest Rmailan oil field. Clashes are still raging near the field, the Observatory said.
The oil industry had been a pillar of the Syrian economy until the crisis broke out more than three years ago, with a daily output of about 380,000 barrels. Oil exports, at 130,000 barrels a day, once accounted for 45 percent of total exports. As the crisis dragged on, production declined sharply.