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US targets Islamic State oil installations

By Agencies in Beirut | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-26 08:11

US-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group on Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of the US-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The United States has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

The Islamic State group is believed to control 11 oil fields in Iraq and Syria, and to earn more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, theft and extortion. Those funds have supported its rapid advance across much of Syria and Iraq, where it has carved out a self-styled caliphate straddling the border, imposed a harsh version of Islamic law and massacred its opponents.

In addition to the US action, Syrian government forces carried out air raids using barrel bombs in the west of the country, in areas where rebel forces operate.

They overran rebels in a town northeast of Damascus on Thursday, strengthening the Syrian government's control of territory around the capital.

The town - Adra al-Omalia - is about 30 km from central Damascus but far from parts of Syria where the US has launched airstrikes against Islamic State militants.

Syrian TV said the armed forces had "imposed their control over the city of Adra al-Omalia and eliminated a number of terrorists". Troops were combing the area and clearing out explosives planted by militants, it added.

Syrian government forces have been gradually extending control over a corridor of territory from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast this year, taking towns and villages along the main north-south highway and in the mountainous Qalamoun area along the Lebanese border.

Cyprus mounted a rescue operation on Thursday after a boat with about 300 people on board was spotted about 100 km off its southwestern shores carrying refugees, including many woman and children, fleeing the fighting in Syria.

AP - Reuters - Xinhua - AFP

 US targets Islamic State oil installations

A man inspects a damaged site after what activists say were four airstrikes by forces loyal to the Syrian government in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, on Tuesday.  Bassam Khabieh / Reuters


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