BEIRUT The Syrian military and its allies made a sudden advance on Saturday and Sunday into areas held by Islamic State in northwest Syria, a conflict monitor stated, because the jihadist group retreated after shedding town of al-Bab to Turkey-backed rebels.
By taking Islamic State territory south of al-Bab, the military is stopping any doable transfer by Turkey and the insurgent teams it helps to develop southwards, and is shifting nearer to regaining management of water provides for Aleppo.
On Sunday, the military took the city of Tadef, simply south of al-Bab after Islamic State withdrew from it, state tv reported. Earlier this month, a senior Russian official stated Tadef marked an agreed dividing line between the Syrian military and the Turkey-backed forces.
The eastwards advance south of Tadef has prolonged Syrian military management throughout 14 villages and introduced it inside 25km (15 miles) of Lake Assad, the stretch of the Euphrates above the Tabqa dam.
Additionally on Sunday, the Syrian military and its allies made a brand new advance towards Islamic State round Palmyra, coming to inside a couple of kilometers of the traditional desert metropolis that the jihadists captured in December.
Islamic State’s holdings in northwest Syria have been eviscerated over current months by successive advances by three completely different, rival forces: Syrian Kurdish teams backed by the US, the Turkey-backed rebels, and the military.
Combating within the space is continuous as the military and its allies advance, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based conflict monitor, stated on Sunday.
Islamic State’s lack of al-Bab after weeks of bitter road combating marks the group’s efficient departure from northwest Syria, as soon as one in every of its most fearsome strongholds, and an space of significance due to its location on the Turkish border.
Regular advances since 2015 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led alliance of armed teams, had already pushed Islamic State from a lot of the frontier by the center of final 12 months and have since then threatened its stronghold in Raqqa.
Turkey’s entry into Syria’s civil conflict through the Euphrates Defend marketing campaign in assist of insurgent teams combating beneath the banner of the Free Syrian Military was supposed each to push Islamic State from the border and to cease Kurdish growth there.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Enhancing by Mark Potter and Ros Russell)