ISIS seizes oil field in Syrian province of Homs

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People walk under a billboard erected by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group as part of a campaign in the ISIS-controlled Syrian city of Raqqa on November 2, 2014. Arabic writting on billboard reads "Now.. now.. the fight has come." (Photo: AFP)

Published Monday, November 3, 2014

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Syria said on Monday they had taken control of a gas field in the central province of Homs, the second gas field seized in a week after battles with government forces.

The hardline Islamist group posted 18 photos on social media showing the ISIS flag raised in the Jahar gas field as well as seized vehicles and weaponry, according to the SITE jihadist website monitoring service.

Reuters could not independently confirm the events due to security restrictions.

ISIS militants, who now hold up to a third of Syria as well as swathes of Iraq and have declared a 'caliphate' on the territories they control, took the larger Sha'ar gas field on October 30.

"So after the (Sha'ar) company and the (positions) surrounding it became part of the land of the caliphate, the soldiers advanced, conquering new areas, and all praise is due to God," ISIS said in the message.

"Yesterday they tightened control over Jahar village and the Mahr gas pumping company, and nearly nine (positions) supported by heavy weaponry such as tanks, armored vehicles, and heavy machine guns of various calibers," it added.

The report said ISIS had seized two tanks, seven four-wheel drive cars and several heavy machine guns.

Canada launches first airstrikes in Iraq

A US-led coalition has conducted airstrikes against ISIS since September, which have failed to stop the group’s advances. The United States says it is not coordinating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army to combat the Islamist group.

On Sunday, the Canadian military dropped bombs on alleged ISIS positions in Iraq for the first time, in support of the US-led coalition.

"Coordinated with our coalition partners, two CF-18s attacked ISIL targets with GBU12 500-pound (227-kilogram) laser-guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah," Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement, using an alternate term for ISIS.

"All aircraft returned safely to their base."

Nicholson declined to detail damage caused to the targets during the approximately four-hour mission, indicating that such details would be provided during a news conference Tuesday.

Canada conducted its first airstrikes in the anti-ISIS fight following two days of reconnaissance after joining the coalition on Thursday.

In Syria, coalition aircraft hit ISIS positions in five separate strikes near the border town of Kobane over the weekend. The strikes struck five small ISIS units and destroyed three ISIS vehicles, US Central Command claimed. Despite the presence of US-led airstrikes in Kobane for over a month, there has been little progress in pushing back ISIS’ offensive in the town.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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