BEIRUT—Airstrikes on a fuel market in a rebel-held village in northern Syria killed and wounded dozens on Tuesday and destroyed several tanker trucks, two Syrian opposition monitoring groups reported.
The market in the village of Maaret al-Naasan mostly sells diesel fuel brought from areas under the control of the Islamic State group. The airstrikes are likely part of a campaign to target the oil industry that is a major source of income for ISIS. The extremist group controls nearly half of Syria.
Russian warplanes as well as those of the U.S.-led coalition have destroyed hundreds of tanker trucks that are used to ferry oil from fields under the control of ISIS in eastern Syria to other parts of the country. The warplanes have also struck oil facilities in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour in recent weeks.
The Local Coordination Committees said Tuesday’s airstrikes on Maaret al-Naasan were carried out by Russian warplanes and that they killed and wounded dozens of people.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the airstrikes killed and wounded at least 35 people. He said the warplanes were believed to have been Russian.
“This is part of the campaign against Daesh,” Abdurrahman said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
Although other insurgent groups in Syria have been fighting against IS, fuel has been flowing from areas controlled by the extremists into rebel-held territory in return for other commodities such as vegetables and fruits.
Demand for diesel has been on the rise in northern Syria to fuel heaters during the winter; the attacks on oil facilities and tanker trucks have sharply increased the price of diesel.
Also Tuesday, Al-Manar TV reported that Hezbollah militants killed IS religious chief Abu Abdullah Amer in the mountainous Qalamoun region that borders Lebanon. The channel, which is run by Hezbollah, said that a Hezbollah fighter detonated a roadside bomb which struck Amer’s passing convoy.
Hezbollah is an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to back Assad’s forces.