Syrian forces try to retake gas field

 20 Jul 2014 - 3:15

Residents carry an injured man wounded by a car explosion in Douma, eastern Al Ghouta, near Damascus.

BEIRUT: Syrian regime forces launched an offensive yesterday to retake a gas field in Homs province seized two days ago by jihadists who killed 270 people, most of them executed, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that a woman accused of adultery was stoned to death by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in the northern city of Raqa, in the second such case in as many days.
Regime forces backed by warplanes pressed a counter-attack yesterday around Shaar, recapturing large areas of the gas field, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman. “They are advancing in Shaar and have managed to regain large parts of it, while trying to control surrounding areas that fall under the control of the Islamic State,” he said.
“Regime forces are conducting air raid and clashes are taking place on the ground,” he added.
The counter-attack had killed at least 40 IS militants and 11 soldiers while 10 other troops were wounded, said the Observatory, which relies for its information on a network of activists and medics on the ground.
The watchdog said it had documented “the deaths of 270 people killed in the fighting or executed” by the jihadists. “A large majority of the men killed were executed at gunpoint after being taken prisoner following the takeover of the camp,” said Abdel Rahman.
“Eleven of the dead were civilian employees, while the rest were security guards and National Defence Forces members,” he added.
The fate of nearly 100 people who worked at the site remains unknown.
There was no official confirmation of the reports but supporters of President Bashar Al Assad’s regime posted photographs of the dead. One Twitter user said: “Thirty martyrs were brought to Homs hospital from the Shaar gas field... Homs is still bleeding.”
On Friday night on a main square in Raqa, IS jihadists stoned to death a woman they accused of adultery, the Observatory said, citing residents of their stronghold.
“Because residents refused to take part in the stoning, the IS fighters themselves executed the woman,” it said, adding that they pulled up a lorry filled with rocks for the killing.
Yesterday, regime forces clashed with IS jihadists in the western part of the province.
Meanwhile, nine people were killed in a car bomb attack in the rebel-held city of Douma.