Syrian government forces seized full control of the last major town in Homs province held by Daish, Syrian state media reported on Saturday, as unidentified assailants shot dead seven members of Syria's White Helmets rescue service, the group said.
These gains enable further advances into eastern areas held by Islamic State (ISIS), including the province of Deir al-Zor, where the circle around jihadists is slowly forming as the government forces are pushing from their positions in southern parts of Raqqa province.
At the time, the city had already fallen to the army as a result of the IS withdrawal, but reports said the city was jam-packed with explosive devices and roadside bombs, which delayed the victory declaration. The SDF is now focused on capturing Raqa city from Daish.
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Since the beginning of the military conflict in Syria in 2011, Russian Federation has been helping the Syrian government to fight against the various militant groups operating in the country, including ISIS.
Syrian state media cited a military source saying Daish rebels had been killed and their weapons destroyed at the town of Al Sukhna, some 50km northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra.
The Russian warplanes have been supporting the ground Syrian troops and allied fighters in their push to clear the desert of IS.
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"The liberation of Es Sukhne from the IS terrorists opens the opportunity for the Syrian governmental forces for an offensive and de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor", the ministry said in a statement. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the town was captured after heavy army artillery fire and air strikes by government ally Russian Federation.
Russian Federation has been participating in operations against the IS and other terrorist groups in Syria since September 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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