US-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group, ISIL, killing at least five people today, AP reported.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and two local activists collectives, the airstrikes hit refineries and oil fields in the eastern provinces of Deir el-Zour and Hassakeh.
The latest strikes come on the third day of a US-led air campaign aimed at reversing the advancing Islamic State in Syria, and appeared to target one of the main revenue streams of the militants.
The US had been conducting air raids against the group in neighbouring Iraq for over a month.
The group is said to control 11 oil fields in Iraq and Syria, and to rake in over $3 million a day from oil smuggling, theft and extortion. Its rapid rise and advance across much of Syria and Iraq, where it had carved out a self-styled caliphate straddling the border, owed much to those funds. It had also imposed a harsh version of Islamic law and massacred its opponents.
At least four oil installations and three oil fields had been hit in the town of Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and two local activist groups said.
Meanwhile, Voice of America said in a report that US forces and those from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducted 13 airstrikes in eastern Syria as part of an operation against the Islamic State group, yesterday.
US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, said the attacks targeted small-scale oil refineries that generated up to $2million per day for the militants.
Meanwhile, in northern Syria, Kurdish forces pushed back an advance by Islamic State fighters towards a strategic town on the Turkish border today and appealed for US-led air strikes to target the insurgents' tanks and heavy armaments.
The Islamic State had in a new offensive attempted to capture the border town of Kobani more than a week ago, besieging it from three sides, which led to at least 140,000 Kurds fleeing to surrounding villages and crossing into Turkey since Friday.
Meanwhile, according to Kurdish officials, ISIL had concentrated its fighters south of the town late yesterday and had advanced towards it, but had been repelled by the main Kurdish armed group in northern Syria, the YPG.