Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

ISIS kills scores of regime soldiers, allied militants near Raqqa

Local | 2017-08-25 02:20:16
ISIS kills scores of regime soldiers, allied militants near Raqqa
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Islamic State denied Syrian regime reports of advances east of Raqqa city on Thursday, saying it has recaptured 4 villages and killed about 100 soldiers and allied militants, 58 of them in suicide bombing attack.
 
The radical group's news feeds said ISIS fighters had recaptured 4 villages southeast of Raqqa, inflicting heavy losses on regime army and allied Shiite militias.
 
In its turn, the regime army said it had advanced from southern areas of Raqqa province, joining up with their forces north of the town of al-Sukhna in Homs province and in so doing closing the circle around the pocket of IS insurgents.
 
The ISISI enclave, located west of al-Sukhna and extending north into Hama province, totals approximately 2,000 square km (770 square miles), according to the Hezbollah military media unit.
 
The Syrian army secured Al-Sukhna, 50 km (30 miles) northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, earlier this month. It was the last major town in Homs province held by Islamic State.
 
Last week, Syrian forces surrounded another large ISIS enclave in central Syria to the west of the one encircled on Thursday.
 
The jihadists have lost swathes of Syrian territory to separate campaigns being waged by government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia. The SDF is currently focused on capturing Raqqa city from Islamic State.
 
Islamic State still controls nearly all of Deir al-Zor province, which is bordered to the east by Iraq. The Syrian government holds a pocket of territory in Deir al-Zor city and a nearby military base. 

The United Nations called on Thursday for a humanitarian pause to allow an estimated 20,000 trapped civilians to escape Raqqa, and urged the U.S.-led coalition to rein in air strikes that have caused casualties.

"Boats on the Euphrates must not be attacked, people who come out cannot risk air raids when they come out," Jan Egeland, humanitarian adviser on Syria, told reporters in Geneva.

"So now is the time to think of possibilities, pauses or otherwise that might facilitate the escape of civilians, knowing that [Daesh] fighters are doing their absolute best to keep them in place," he said. (With Reuters)

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