BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State 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 Sunni Islamist group posted 18 photos on social media showing the Islamic State 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.
Islamic State fighters, 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 Oct. 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 Allah,” Islamic State 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, armoured vehicles, and heavy machine guns of various calibres,” it added.
The report said Islamic State had seized two tanks, seven four-wheel drive cars and several heavy machine guns.
A U.S.-led coalition has conducted air strikes against Islamic State since September. The United States says it is not coordinating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to combat the Islamist group.
Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Gareth Jones