Syrian government forces have launched a counter-attack to recapture a gas field seized by Islamic extremists, as the death toll from three days of fighting rose to more than 200, activists said Saturday, July 19, according to the Associated Press.
The intense fighting in the Shaer field, which lies in the desert region of Palmyra in the central province of Homs, has been among the deadliest between government forces and the Islamic State group since the start of the Syrian uprising more than three years ago.
Fighters from the Islamic State group have in the past few weeks seized a huge chunk of territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border, where they declared a self-styled caliphate. They have also captured much of Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Deir el-Zour.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said special forces launched an attack late Friday on the Shaer field in the central province of Homs and regained parts of it.
The Observatory said that the number of troops, guards and workers killed in the gas field since it was captured Thursday has risen to 270, adding that some were captured and killed by militants.
An unnamed Jordanian military official was quoted by Jordan’s state news agency as saying that border guards have received 411 Syrian refugees over the past three days. The official said 46 of them were seriously wounded and were admitted to field hospitals and that 12 died.