ISIS forces have continued their march westward into central Syria today, attacking the major Shaar gas field just east of the city of Homs, and sparking a major battle with Assad government forces.
By the end of the day, the field was taken by ISIS, and 23 of the guards were confirmed killed. The overall toll is still subject to some speculation, but 340 are unaccounted for overall, and believed to be badly wounded or captured outright.
This is among ISIS’ westernmost territorial possessions now, and reflects its continuing expansion toward the Mediterranean. It is also one of the largest single battles between ISIS and the Syrian military in awhile, as recently ISIS has mostly fought other rebels for territory Syria had long-since lost.
The takeover of the important natural gas field adds to the energy possessions of ISIS, which has also seized much of Syria’s oil production in Deir Ezzor, some oil fields near Mosul in Iraq, and a massive oil refinery in central Iraq.