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Syrian army captures IS Aleppo stronghold

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-05 07:40

DAMASCUS, Syria - Government forces and allied fighters on Sunday captured the last Islamic State stronghold in the northern province of Aleppo, a monitoring group reported. The Syrian Army and fighters of Hezbollah entered the town of Maskanah, the last IS stronghold in Aleppo province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Located in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo, capturing Maskanah is the latest in a string of successful operations the army and its allies to end the presence of IS in Aleppo.

The observatory, which says it relies on a network of activists on the ground, said the army has been combing the town since early on Sunday in search of explosives and roadside bombs.

It added that the IS fighters and their families withdrew form the town before the army could place a full siege on it, following cutting the road between the town and northern province of Raqqa.

The wide-scale military offensive in the countryside of Aleppo was unleashed on Jan 17, after government forces took back control over the entire city of Aleppo.

Now, the army is also active in the Syrian desert against IS, capturing large swaths of territories from the terrorist group.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the situation in the nation is witnessing big improvements, largely due to the retreat of terrorist groups. The situation on the ground has become much better from a military perspective, Assad said in an interview published by state news agency SANA on Saturday.

The president's remarks came as the IS group is losing ground on several fronts, mainly in the desert in central Syria, the countryside of Aleppo province, and in Raqqa province.

He also mentioned the retreat of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.


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