Hopes of a restart to production were boosted in October 2017 when US-backed Kurdish and Arab forces captured Al-Omar, Syria’s largest oil field from so-called Islamic State (IS). IS captured Al-Omar in 2014, when the group swept across large areas in Syria and neighbouring Iraq. At the time, the field was estimated to produce around 9,000 barrels a day (bpd). Its current potential is unknown. The condition of the field, which has been controlled by IS for three years, was not clear following intense coalition and Russian airstrikes. Syria had proven oil reserves of 2.5bn barrels as of 2015, making it the largest supplier among its neighbours after Iraq. The oil industry was a mainstay of the Syrian economy before the conflict began in 2011. IS had seized control of most of Syria’s oil fields and made crude a major earner for the terrorist group, which sold it on the black market to other insurgents and the Syrian government. Since the coalition began operations against IS in 2014, the militants’ oil production has been cut from a peak of approximately $50m a month to less than $4m. IS once held large swaths of territory across Syria and neighbouring Iraq, declaring its own caliphate. But this has now collapsed in the face of a series of internationally supported offensives. In Syria Assad has benefited from a Russian/Iranian coalition while the US-led international coalition has supported Kurdish-led forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the jihadi militants. In late September 2017 the UN’s special envoy Staffan de Mistura laid out hopes for the latest round of peace talks to restart by the end of 2017. The UN, US and Jordan did not participate in the seventh international Astana meeting on resolving the situation in Syria held in the Kazakhstan capital.