Despite claims that ISIS has been losing ground across the board in both Iraq and Syria, the group has made a major gain today, capturing the Shaer gas field today, just northwest of the city of Tadmur. It is one of Syria’s largest gas fields.
ISIS had briefly controlled the field in 2014, but lost it to government forces not long after. It’s been government-held since, though ISIS has intermittently contested the field, attacking security forces throughout that period.
Over the last three days, however, their offensive was much bigger and more aggressive than previous ones, with reports from an ISIS-linked news agency that at least 30 Syrian soldiers were killed in the fighting, and their weapons secured by ISIS attackers.
A country that before the war was heavily economically dependent on oil and natural gas, Syria has struggled, as materially all of the energy resources in the country are in the nation’s east, outside of government control. The Shaer field was the major government-held energy resource in the past two years.