BAGHDAD: Islamic State suicide bombings and clashes between the extremist group and Iraqi troops killed 13 soldiers in Iraq’s western Anbar province on Wednesday, while in Syria, government forces retook an oil field recently captured by the militant group.
Iraqi military and security officials said attacks in Anbar involved at least two suicide bombers that targeted a military outpost in the volatile province, which fell to the IS group during the Islamic State’s blitz last year.
The outpost housed a joint contingent of Iraqi soldiers, policemen and allied Sunni militiamen, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Another 13 troops were wounded in the attacks, the latest to hit beleaguered Iraqi forces trying to claw back territory from the IS in the region.
Meanwhile, in Syria, government troops regained control of a major oil field in central Homs province, driving out IS militants just days after the extremists captured the field, according to Gov. Talal Barazzi
Barazzi said the army established control Wednesday of the Jazal oil field, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the IS-controlled city of Palmyra, following intense battles. Activists say the oil field is not operational.
IS captured the field late Sunday, after months of fighting. Barazzi said the militants took advantage of bad weather amid a sandstorm in the region to make their advance.
IS controls most of Syria’s oil fields, predominantly in the country’s east, along the border with Iraq.
The group captured a third of both Iraq and Syria last summer and declared a self-styled caliphate on the territory it controls.