Syrian regime troops try to encircle Daesh in Deir Ezzor

Syrian forces begin their advance on the area of Bughayliyah, on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor on Wednesday, during their ongoing battle against the Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2017
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Syrian regime troops try to encircle Daesh in Deir Ezzor

DEIR EZZOR: After breaking a Daesh blockade, the Syrian regime’s army is seeking to encircle the remaining terrorist-held parts of Deir Ezzor city, a military source said Wednesday.
The city is the capital of oil-rich eastern Deir Ezzor province, regarded as a strategic prize by both Russian-backed Syrian regime troops and US-backed fighters.
In Damascus Wednesday, President Bashar Assad said the country was “advancing steadily toward victory thanks to the sacrifices of its army, the determination of its people and the support of its allies,” state news agency SANA said.
Last week, the Syrian regime army and allied fighters broke a yearslong Daesh siege of Deir Ezzor, entering two regime-held sections of the city that had been cut off from each other.
Since then, the army has brought reinforcements to the city and is seeking to oust Daesh from eastern neighborhoods that run along the Euphrates river, which slices diagonally through the province.
“The army is seeking to encircle Daesh from three sides by controlling the parts of the western bank of the Euphrates river,” the source told AFP.
Troops would target riverside territory on the city’s northwestern edges as well as strategic areas on its southern outskirts, including the key military airport and the village of Al-Jafra, on the banks of the Euphrates.
The operation seeks to “oust Daesh from the city and the province completely,” the military source said.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, also reported that “fierce fighting has been ongoing since yesterday as the army seeks to expel the militants and reach the western bank of the Euphrates.”
If the army captures Al-Jafra, “Deir Ezzor will be encircled from three sides, so Daesh will have no way out except the Euphrates which is within firing range of regime artillery and Russian warplanes,” he added.
As the Syrian army backed by Russian air support battles Daesh in Deir Ezzor, a separate offensive by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces is under way on the eastern side of the province.
The operation by the alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters began over the weekend, but the SDF has said it was not coordinating the fight with the regime.
Airstrikes by Russian and US-led coalition warplanes in support of the separate offensives have killed dozens of civilians in recent days.
On Wednesday, the Observatory said suspected US-led coalition strikes on several parts of eastern Deir Ezzor province overnight and throughout the day killed 12 people.
On Tuesday, the monitor reported 35 people killed in Russian and US-led strikes on either side of the Euphrates.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-regime protests.


Libya loses 400,000 barrels of storage capacity due to militant attacks

Updated 19 June 2018
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Libya loses 400,000 barrels of storage capacity due to militant attacks

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that at least 400,000 barrels of storage capacity has been lost within the past few days due to militant attacks on Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra.
The NOC announced Monday that it has suffered “catastrophic losses” when two storage tanks were destroyed during fierce clashes in its oil crescent, northeast of the country.
Armed groups on Thursday attacked the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra terminals held by Haftar’s forces around 650 kilometers (400 miles) east of Tripoli.
Haftar led a “major offensive” on Sunday following the attacks to drive rival groups from the country’s northeastern oil crescent.
NOC chief Mustafa Sonallah warned in statements carried by Reuters that if oil exports from these terminals remain at a standstill it could cause a “national disaster.”
The oil firm warned on Friday that output could fall by up to 400,000 barrels per day if the export shutdown continues.