BEIRUT (Reuters) – Air and missile strikes, thought to be carried out by US-led forces, hit oilfields and Islamic State (IS) bases in the eastern Syria overnight and early Friday, a monitoring group said.
US and Arab forces started bombing IS militants in northern and eastern Syria on Tuesday. The United States has been bombing bases of the al-Qaeda splinter group in Iraq since last month.
The airstrikes early on Friday hit IS bases and positions on the outskirts of the city of al-Mayadin in Deir al-Zor province, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict through a network of sources.
An earlier airstrike hit the al-Tanak oilfield area in the province, while apparent missile strikes – also thought to be carried out by US-led forces – hit the al-Quriyah area, also in Deir al-Zor, the monitoring group said.
Strikes also hit areas southeast of the city of Hasaka, close to Syria’s border with Iraq. They targeted IS, al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other militants, the Observatory said.
Deir al-Zor, which borders Iraq, is almost entirely controlled by IS militants and was a major oil-producing province before Syria’s conflict began more than three years ago.
Oil has been a top source of revenue for IS militants, and air raids on Thursday targeted refineries controlled by the group. The strikes also have seemed to be intended to hamper IS ability to operate across the border with Iraq, where it also control territory.
The Observatory said there were casualties from the earlier strikes but did not give details.