Attack puts Syria regime pipeline out of service: state media

Published 14.07.2019 21:09

Militants targeted a gas pipeline in regime-controlled central Syria, putting it out of order Sunday, according to regime media.

The SANA news agency didn't name the attackers. The area in the central Homs province is close to where remnants of the Daesh terror group are still holed up after losing all the territory they once held in the country.

Separately and hours later, opposition forces in the country's northwest fired missiles at the regime-controlled city of Aleppo, killing six civilians and injuring eight others, the state news agency said. The head of forensics in Syria, Zaher Hajo, told The Associated Press that some 22 others were injured, many of them in critical condition. The missiles hit two neighborhoods in the city.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor confirmed the toll, with its head Rami Abdel Rahman saying the number of dead could rise because some of the wounded were in serious condition.

It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets that hit Aleppo.

Fighters of Syria's former al-Qaida affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are deployed in the neighboring province of Idlib and nearby regions including the western Aleppo countryside.

SANA said technical teams were working to fix the gas pipeline in Homs province, which links the Shaer fields to the Ebla processing plant. It did not elaborate on the extent of the damage or the nature of the attack.

The agency said the pipeline carries about 2.5 million cubic meters of gas to the processing plant and onward to power stations.

Daesh terrorists briefly seized the Shaer fields in 2014 and 2016 before pro-regime forces recaptured them in heavy fighting. Today much of Syria's oil fields and infrastructure are held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the terrorist People's Protection Units (YPG) in the east.

In recent weeks, Daesh terrorists have increased their attacks against regime troops, putting up checkpoints and ambushing convoys. While the Assad regime now controls over 60% of Syria, there is still an opposition stronghold in the Idlib region in the northwest, where the regime is waging a limited but stalled offensive. Smaller armed groups in northern, central and eastern Syria have vowed to target regime and YPG-controlled facilities.

Turkey and Russia inked a deal in Sochi for a buffer zone in September to prevent a massive regime offensive on the Idlib region near the Turkish border. Following eight months of calm provided by the Sochi deal, the Assad regime intensified its attacks starting April 26 under the pretext of fighting HTS militants holed up in Idlib.

The offensive in northwestern Syria began in late April and has displaced over 300,000 within the opposition-held area and killed hundreds, including medical staff. Residential areas have been destroyed by indiscriminate attacks, while numerous educational facilities, health facilities and residential areas have collapsed or have become unusable after being targeted by bombs.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and opposition media reported that on Sunday airstrikes hit the town of Maaret al-Numan in opposition-held Idlib, knocking out the local water pumping station and water tank feeding the area.

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