Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Oil and gas to fund fight and expansion

BEIRUT - Islamic State group jihadists have attacked an oil and gas field in Syria, killing at least 30 pro-regime forces and security guards, a monitoring group said Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack was launched on Tuesday night and fighting continued through the night.
"IS managed to control parts of the field," the Britain-based group said after the assault at Shaer, in Homs province.
An unknown number of jihadists were also killed, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
He said fighting resumed in the area on Wednesday morning after several hours of relative calm, with the army bombing the region.
The Syrian Al-Watan daily, which is close to the government, acknowledged the IS advance, saying the group had taken control of "two wells and a hill" after fierce clashes.
The newspaper reported dead and injured on both sides without giving a specific toll.
"Army forces, backed by the National Defence Forces (pro-regime militia) are trying to retake control of the field," the newspaper added.
An earlier attack by IS fighters on Shaer in July left 270 people dead, including soldiers and pro-regime fighters.
Most were reportedly executed at gunpoint after being taken prisoner.
The site is near the famed archeological site of Palmyra.
IS has targeted oil and gas facilities in Iraq and Syria as it seeks funds for its fight to seize territory for a self-proclaimed Islamic "caliphate".