Syrian troops supported by Russia’s Aerospace Forces have captured the last terrorist stronghold of the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia), the city of Abu Kamal, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the military board of Russia and Belarus.
The Syrian Observatory for Human rights says the extremist group retook more than 40 per cent of al-Bu Kamal near the Iraqi border in a counter-attack.
The region, near the capital Damascus, is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.
Being their last home in Syria explains why the IS militants are fighting back.
While ISIS forces have mostly abandoned towns and cities in favor of fleeing into the desert to return to insurgency, they appear to want to keep Abu Kamal contested for now, and there are even reports from Hezbollah that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be in the area.
Pro-Syrian media reported the town was liberated.
“The liberation of Boukamal is of great importance because it is a declaration of the fall of this group’s project in the region generally and the collapse of its supporters’ illusions to divide it, control large parts of the Syria-Iraq borders and secure supply routes between the two countries”, said Army spokesman Gen. Ali Mayhoub in a televised statement.
Al-Bukamal is very important for 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 US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS.
A handout picture made available by Syrian Arab news agency SANA shows damaged buildings in Deir Ezzor city, Syria, 03 November 2017.