Syria: Assad forces capture last Islamic State-held town in Homs

Syrian regime forces fire towards Islamic State group positions as they advance towards Hayyan oil field, east of the central Syrian Homs province on February 7, 2017. Regime troops had captured the Hayyan oilfield west of the celebrated desert city of Palmyra. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

IS is losing ground fast in Syria to separate campaigns waged by Russian-backed Syrian army and by US-backed Kurdish forces and their allies

Syrian government and allied forces have taken the last major town in Homs province from Islamic State (IS), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday, as the army also advances toward militant strongholds in the east of the country.

The town of al-Sukhna, almost at the centre of the country, lies about 50km northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, which was captured by government forces in March, and about the same distance from the administrative frontier of Deir Ezzor province, which is almost entirely under IS control.

A Hezbollah media unit earlier said government and allied forces were making considerable progress inside al-Sukhna. Lebanon’s Hezbollah group fights on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian conflict.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported earlier on Saturday that the army was advancing into al-Sukhna from three directions.

IS is losing ground fast in Syria to separate campaigns waged by the Russian-backed Syrian government on the one hand and to US-backed Kurdish forces and their allies on the other.

Government forces, backed by the Russian air force and Iran-backed militias, have also been advancing against IS in Hama province, to the north of Homs, and in southern areas of Raqqa province.

US-led operations against IS are currently focused on taking Raqqa city, to the northwest of Deir Ezzor, in northern Syria.