ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Following the liberation of the district of Qayyarah in August, 11 oil wells were set on fire by the Islamic State (IS) extremists.
The Iraqi forces recaptured Qayyarah, southeast of Mosul, from the IS control on August 25.
Before retreating from the town, IS extremists burned most of the town’s oil fields.
A Kurdistan24 reporter in the town of Qayyarah stated that among the 11 wells, out of 63 wells, were burned by IS following their retreat from the town, five oil fields are still on fire, casting black cloud over the liberated city for ten days.
An Iraqi official in the Ministry of Oil stated on August 29 that North Oil Company has been able to put out fires at four oilfields and prevent the oil from spilling into Tigris River.
According to the Kurdistan24 reporter, the residents of the city still fear that the oil could spill into the river despite the government efforts to prevent it; however, the government could prevent the oil from reaching the residential areas.
The residents of the city call on the government to take immediate action to put out the fire because it is adversely affecting the environment and health of the town’s 20,000 inhabitants.
A firefighter officer told Kurdistan24 that “We are four firefighter teams from the Salahadin province, trying to put out the fire but we need more support to be able to extinguish the flames. It is a very big fire and out of our control.”
“Islamic State used to ship at least 50 tanker truckloads a day from Qayyarah and nearby Najma oilfields to neighboring Syria,” Reuters reported.
Editing by Ava Homa