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'Islamic State' Kills 270 in Syria Gas Field Takeover

FILE - An image made available by the Jihadist media outlet al-Itisam Media on June 29, 2014, allegedly shows members of the Islamic State, including military leader and Georgia native, Abu Omar al-Shishani (Tarkhan Batirashvili) (C-L) and ISIL sheikh Abu Mohammed al-Adnani (C-R), whose picture was blurred from the source to protect his identity, speaking at an unknown location between the Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah.

Syrian activists said government forces have launched a counterattack to recapture a gas field seized by Islamic extremists, as the death toll from three days of fighting rose to 310.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday the fighting in the Shaer gas field in the central province of Homs is among the deadliest between government forces and the group calling itself the Islamic State, since the Syrian uprising began more than three years ago.

The Islamic State captured the Syrian gas field on Thursday. Government forces launched an attack late Friday on the Shaer field and by Saturday had regained parts of it.

The observatory said the militants have killed and executed 270 soldiers, guards and staff during the assault.

They added that at least 40 militants had been killed and around 30 people managed to escape to a nearby gas field in central Syria. It has not been possible to immediately verify the report.

The group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has declared a "caliphate" in areas it now controls in Syria and Iraq.

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