Islamist opposition fighters take key Syrian oil town
A Syrian child poses on a horse in the northern city of Aleppo. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)
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Members of Jabhat al-Nusra, the militant Islamist brigade fighting for the Syrian opposition, have captured a key oil town in Syria's North East, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.
The fighters appear on a video, posted on YouTube, celebrating their victory after taking the town of al-Shaddada in the oil rich province of Hasaka.
The victory marks an unprecedented step forward for the opposition as oil exports have been a major source of income for the Syrian regime prior to the beginning on the uprising in March 2011.
In 2010, the European Union, where most of the exports went to, spent $4.1 billion on Syrian oil.
According to the Observatory, 30 al-Nusra fighters died during the battle for al-Shaddada, along with 100 Syrian army troops. Five of the Nusra dead were from Kuwait.
The UN estimates that around 70,000 people have so far died in the Syrian conflict, many of whom were civilians.