Saturday, 18 November, 2017

IS recaptures stronghold in eastern Syria

12 Nov 2017, 02:33 ( 6 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Syrian army soldiers fire an artillery on the Islamic State (IS) positions near the city of al-Bukamal in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour province, Syria, on Nov. 10, 2017. Photo Xinhua.

The Islamic State (IS) wrested back control over the city of al-Bukamal, the last IS stronghold in Syria that had been recently captured by the Syrian government forces, a monitor group reported on Saturday.

Following the Syrian army's declaration of capturing al-Bukamal in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour province in eastern Syria on Thursday, the IS militants unleashed a wide-scale offensive on the city, and recaptured over 40 percent of it on Friday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Then on Saturday, the IS militants retook the entire city, pushing the government forces and allied fighters to retreat around 2 km out of the city, the London-based watchdog group said

Being their last home in Syria explains why the IS militants are fighting back.

On Thursday, the Syrian army declared capturing the city, saying in a statement that the liberation of al-Bukamal constitutes a "strategic achievement and a base for eradicating remnants of the terrorist organizations with its various names along the Syrian territories."

The army also hailed what it described as "the continuous coordination" between the Syrian and Iraqi armies," saying it has played a big role in clearing large swathes of the border area and in preventing the infiltration of IS militants.

Al-Bukamal is very important for the IS due to its proximity to IS-held areas on the Iraqi side of the border, which have recently been stormed by the Iraqi army and allied troops.

Last month, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS.

Also, the Syrian army captured the capital city of Deir al-Zour this month. 

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