First Battle of the Shaer gas field

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First Battle of the Shaer gas field
Part of the Syrian Civil War
First Battle of the Shaer gas field is located in Syria
Shaer gas field
Shaer gas field
Date 16–26 July 2014
(1 week and 3 days)
Location Palmyra region, Homs Governorate, Syria
Result Syrian Army recaptures the gas field[1]
Belligerents
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Syria Syrian Arab Republic

Commanders and leaders
Hassan Abbous
(IS emir of Homs)[2]
Unknown
Units involved
Dawoud Brigade[2] Local NDF militia
Army Special Forces
Strength
100–2,000[2][3] 370 (gas field garrison)[4]
Unknown number of reinforcements
Casualties and losses
51–67 killed[5][6] 347–361 killed[7] (200 executed)*[2]
200–250 captured/missing (mostly civilian workers)[6][8]
  • 11 civilian workers[9]

The First Battle of the Shaer gas field occurred in mid-July 2014 during the Syrian Civil War when radical jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) attacked and captured the field from government forces, which was followed by an Army counter-attack. It was one of the deadliest battles up-to-date in the war between fighters of the militant group and government troops.[5]

Battle

On the evening of 16 July 2014,[10] ISIS militants launched a massive assault on the Shaer field, located in the desert region of Palmyra in Homs province. The attack started with a suicide bombing, followed by assaults on Army checkpoints. After 12 hours of fighting,[5] the militants captured all eight military checkpoints and secured the gas field.[10] Out of 370 NDF militiamen present at the start of the attack, only 30 managed to escape to the nearby Hajjar field.[4] Days later, it was reported that some of the military officers committed betrayal at the start of the attack.[11]

After the raid, ISIS posted online a video purportedly showing two rocket launchers and two tanks that they captured[5] and the bodies of 50 people lying in an open desert space, many apparently executed.[12]

It was determined 270 people on the government side, including 11 civilian workers, were killed,[9] with at least 200 of them executed after being captured.[2] Another 200–250 government fighters and workers remained captured or missing,[2][8] while 21–27 ISIS militants were killed.[5] Government supporters branded the killings of the soldiers as a “massacre” and the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights condemned the killings with the SOHR director stating: “The Observatory condemns summary execution as a war crime, regardless of which side it is committed by in the Syrian conflict. Summary execution is a war crime — whether of civilians or combatants. They are prisoners of war and must not be executed.”[9]

Soon after, the military launched an attempt to recapture the gas field, which included air strikes.[10] The next day, Syrian special forces joined the battle as government troops recaptured parts of the Shaer field.[13] 11–20 soldiers[2][14] and 30–40 ISIS fighters were killed during the day's clashes.[6]

On 19 July, government aircraft withdrew from the field due to heavy militant fire from 23-mm heavy machine guns,[2] while the fighting settled into hit-and-run attacks[6] after government forces managed to recapture large areas of the gas field but were still trying to take control of the surrounding areas.[14] Later, it was reported 60–65 soldiers were killed during the day, ether by friendly fire airstrikes or in fighting against ISIS.[15][16]

On 20 July, government forces pushed ISIS out of the gas field and secured it, while fighting continued on its outskirts.[15] According to another source, the Islamic State was still in control of the gas field, despite efforts of the Army.[17] The next day, new government reinforcements arrived at Tiyas airbase, east of Homs city,[18] while more fighting left six soldiers dead.[17]

On 26 July, the Army secured the gas field, as well as the surrounding hills.[19] The capture of the field came after ISIS forces retreated. According to the military, this was achieved due to a "precise operation in which dozens of terrorists were killed." The ISIS itself claimed they retreated after destroying the field's equipment and capturing at least 15 tanks and dozens of rockets which were used to guard the field, thus achieving their goal.[1]

Aftermath

In late October, ISIS once again attacked the gas field[20] and after three days of fighting captured the field,[21] as well as the Hayyan Gas Company.[22] only to be lost to the SAA on 6 November, when the Army retook the Shaer gas field and Syriatel Hill from ISIL.[23][24]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Syria retakes Homs gas field from hardline group". Reuters. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Syria fights to free gas field from Islamic State". sacbee. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Toll Climbs in Fight for Syrian Gas Field". WSJ. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "ISIS SEIZES GAS FIELDS, STRENGTHENS ITS PRESENCE IN SYRIA". dailysabah.com. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Reports: At least 115 Syrian troops, workers killed in Islamic militants' seizure of gas field". Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Syria aims to retake gas field". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 270 killed (16–17 July), 11–20 killed (18 July),[1][2] 60–65 killed (19 July),[3][4] 6 killed (21 July),[5] total of 347–361 reported killed Archived December 22, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  8. 8.0 8.1 Clashes have been going on 48 hours in the Shaer gas field
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Jihadists kill 270 in Syrian gas field 'massacre'". AsiaOne. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Scores killed after ISIS seize Syria gas field". Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Ongoing clashes for 48 hours for the Shaer gas field
  12. "Syrian army clashes with ISIS near Deir al-Zor airport". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. ABC News. "Syrian Troops Seek to Retake Jihadi-Held Gas Field". ABC News. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Battle for Syria gas field after jihadists execute hundreds: NGO". Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 The killing of 65 of the regime's forces in Shaer gas field
  16. "60 Syria soldiers dead in battle with jihadists". GlobalPost. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Islamic State thwarts Syrian government forces on two front". Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  18. 6 barrel bombs on Nawa and continuing clashes at Shaer gas field.
  19. "Syria Regime Forces Retake Gas Field from Jihadists". Naharnet. Retrieved 25 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "ISIS attack on Syria oil field kills 30: monitor". The Daily Star. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. ISIS gain control in Shaer gas field, and regime forces torture 12 men to death in Homs. | Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
  22. IS militants take control over Hayyan Gas Company in Homs | Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
  23. "Syrian government forces retake gas field from Islamic State: monitor". Retrieved 14 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. sohranas. "The regime forces re- capture the Sha'er gas field". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 14 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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