Lafarge says Syria cement plant shut over security
French construction materials giant Lafarge said Thursday it has shut its cement plant in northern Syria as a security measure.
Lafarge decided last week to suspend work at the factory located some 150 kilometres (100 miles) northeast of the city of Aleppo "as security could not be guaranteed in the area," a company spokeswoman said.
"The factory's employees were informed not to turn up at the site," she added.
Islamic State jihadists took over a major city in that part of northern Syria at the end of last week, sparking tens of thousands of mainly Kurdish refugees to flee into nearby Turkey.
Activity at the cement factory, which went into operation in 2011, had already been scaled back, and there were no longer any personnel at the facility, the company said.
The spokeswoman said Lafarge employs 250 people in Syria, almost all of whom are Syrians, but could not say how many were employed at the cement factory.
The United States and allies including Gulf states have begun conducting air strikes on IS positions in Syria after a series of advances by the militant group that has murdered Western and Syrian hostages.
© 2014 AFP