ISIS fighters have captured a town in the Syrian province of Homs province from regime forces, as a part of a wider counter-attack as they face pressure in eastern Syria, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS militants took al-Qaryatayn in a surprise attack launched shortly after their fighters had infiltrated the town.
The monitor said al-Qaryatayn had fallen to ISIS on Sunday, but the Syrian regime is yet to confirm or deny the reports.
It is part of a wider counter-offensive by ISIS, who managed to capture towns and villages from regime forces.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and allied militias - notorious for their indiscriminate targeting of civilians - recaptured al-Qaryatayn from ISIS earlier this year.
This comes after Iranian media announced that Iran is planning to build a multi-million-dollar oil refinery in Homs
The oil refinery facility will cost an estimated $1 billion and would be able to produce up to 140,000 barrels per day at full capacity, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.
"This refinery will be built as a consortium with the participation of Iran, Venezuela, and Syria," Akbar Zamanian, the head of technologies at the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI) said, according to Fars.
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Iran will also reportedly rebuild two existing oil refineries.
The project will be built by Iranian companies with finances secured by foreign countries, another RIPI official added.
The main products will be liquified petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, gasoline, and kerosene.
The U.S. has reportedly expressed concern over the oil refinery plans.
The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime - in power since 1963 and led by Assad - responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings.
It triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.
According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies.
Millions more have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.
The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime - which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians - have led to war crimes investigations.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.