Kurdish-Arab Alliance Expels ISIS Form Oil-rich Area in Eastern Syria

By Ahmed Shiwesh – ARA News –  2016-04-01 18:06 GMT –  Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported advancement in the oil-rich area between Deir ez-Zor province and Raqqa, northeast Syria, subsequent to clashes with the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS), military sources reported on Thursday. The western-backed SDF forces have seized the Rweshid oil field after expelling ISIS from the Abu Khashab district west of the town of Margada in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province.

Speaking to ARA News in Hasakah, media activist Suleiman Nabi said that the SDF alliance is still trying to cut the group’s supply lines between the cities of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, through advancing towards the Deir ez-Zor suburbs–connecting Hasakah with ISIS-held Raqqa.

The SDF includes Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and allied local Arab and Christian factions.”The SDF forces have passed al-Maliha village toward Ma’dan area, west of the city of Shaddadi in Hasakah province,” a spokesman for the SDF told ARA News, pointing out “the SDF’s goal is to cut ISIS supply lines between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in a bid to besiege ISIS jihadis in their de facto capital [Raqqa].”

Under an air cover by the U.S.-led coalition, the SDF forces had seized control of the city of Shaddadi and its countryside nearly two months ago subsequent to fierce battles with ISIS insurgents in the southern suburbs of Hasakah. This progress came after the SDF units cut off a main supply route for the ISIS radical group near Syria’s northeastern border with Iraq. In February, the SDF alliance had seized control of a key gas facility and main financial resource for the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province last week. The western-backed forces regained control of the Jibisa gas facility, located about 12km east of Shaddadi city in southern Hasakah.

The facility had been used by ISIS for nearly two years as a source to fund its operations. Informed sources told ARA News that ISIS used to produce 5,000 gas cylinders a day in Jibisa to be sold at the black-market. Local sources reported that ISIS has been coordinating with the Syrian regime to sell the gas it used to extract from Jibisa fields, and that the regime’s employees have been working in the facility even during ISIS control.Jibisa gas facility is considered one of the main gas facilities in northern Syria for its huge production that has been feeding power stations in central Syria. The facility was run by some 500 workers, including specialized engineers, technicians and workers. The SDF, which includes Kurdish, Arab and Christian units, had earlier liberated more than 240 towns and villages from ISIS militants on the border with Iraq.