ISIS-linked jihadists seize towns near oil-rich Golan Heights in Syria

by WorldTribune Staff, February 22, 2017

In a series of surprise attacks, jihadists affiliated with Islamic State (ISIS) seized four villages in the oil-rich Syrian Golan Heights.

The terror group, which calls itself the Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army, captured the towns of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Ten Jamoua that were held by moderate rebels, according to witnesses who spoke to Reuters on Feb. 21.

“In a surprise attack Islamic State made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” said Col. Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector.

Rebels said the ISIS affiliates were able to extend their area of control in territory that forms a natural barrier between Syria and Israel where the Yarmouk River flows.

The FSA and its allies reported that they regained control of two towns – Jileen and Heet – after a group called the Southern Front, which answers to a central command based in Jordan, launched a counteroffensive against the invading jihadists.

Jordanian security forces in the area have been put on high alert.

Government media reported last week that the Syrian army regained control of the Hayan natural gas field in central Homs province from ISIS.

At its peak, the Hayan gas plant produced three million cubic meters of gas per day, representing the largest electricity facility in Syria’s southern and central areas.