On February 16, a series of Syrian artillery strikes targeted an illegal fuel market located near the town of Termanin in the northeastern part of the Greater Idlib region.
The pinpoint strikes destroyed a fuel storage and processing facility run by the Watad Petroleum Company. Four people were killed and three others were wounded as a result of the strikes. The casualties were apparently workers of Watad.
Syrian opposition activists said that the Syrian Arab Army artillery targeted Watad fuel facility with several Russian-made 2K25 Krasnopol laser-guided artillery rounds.
Watad is known to be owned by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib. The company maintains a monopoly over the fuel market in Greater Idlib. It deals in oil illegally produced from fields controlled by Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria as well as fuel and gas smuggled from Turkey.
The strikes on Watad fuel facility near Termanin were likely carried out to punish HTS for its recent violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib.
Watad facilities in Greater Idlib were targeted by Syrian and Russian forces on several occasions in the last few years. The company’s illegal trade is one of HTS’ main income resources. Due to this, more attacks on the company are to be expected.