US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday (22 October) that they captured Syria's largest oilfield, al-Omar, from Isis militants. The oilfield is located in the east bank of the Euphrates River in eastern Deir ez-Zor.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed that the SDF members "managed to enter" the oilfield on Sunday.
The al-Omar oilfield came under SDF's control following a "large-scale military operation" in the early hours of Sunday, Laila al-Abdullah, spokesperson for the alliance that mainly comprises Kurdish and Arab fighters, said in a statement. She added that they captured the oilfield "with little damage" to the area.
The statement also noted that the SDF fighters were currently fighting Isis militants holed up in a housing complex adjacent to the oilfield.
The Syrian observatory said that SDF advanced towards the oilfield after Syrian government forces withdrew from the area following an attack launched by Isis militants. SDF also announced recently the capture of Raqqa, Isis' de-facto capital since it took over large parts of the country in 2014.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russia, are also advancing towards Deir ez-Zor from the western bank of the Euphrates River and have gained significant ground in the recent week, Al Jazeera reported.
The US-backed alliance as well as Assad's forces aim to take control of the resource-rich Deir ez-Zor province bordering Iraq as it could help finance their respective fights against Isis.
"The Syrian army is just about a few kilometres away from the same oilfield that was captured on Sunday," an Al Jazeera reporter said and cautioned: "So we're talking about still a very delicate situation facing the SDF as they are trying to capture more territory from Isis."