RIMELAN, Syria – Doğan News Agency
A Syrian Kurdish militant, who carries stickers of the outlawed PKK and its leader Abdullah Öcalan on his rifle, stands guard in front of an oil well in Rimelan. DHA Photo
Syrian Kurds have been defending the oil-rich town of Rimelan in northern Syria from al-Qaeda-linked groups and said the oil-wells were a crucial income source for the region’s economy.
The town, which stands on the 60 percent of the Syria’s oil, has come under continuous attacks from al-Nusra insurgents, according to the People’s Defense Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). PYD has captured the town in May but the oil production has been stopped because the silos were full of oil since there was no sale. The town host Arabs, Syriacs, Armenians and Chaldeans as well.
Clashes between PYD and al-Nusra insurgents have raged for a month, after jihadists were expelled from the key town of Ras al-Ayn on the Turkish border. The al-Qaeda-linked group has reportedly given one month to the YPG to evacuate the oil wells but Kurds rejected the ultimatum which resulted in fierce fights in the region. Oil wells are defended by hundreds of Kurdish militants.
The town hosts some 2,000 oil wells with a production of 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day and the oil has been transferred to the cities of Homs and Banias but the destruction of the civil war has stopped this process.