Times of Oman
Syrian army takes town of Al Qaraytan from IS militant group in Homs
October 21, 2017 | 4:57 PM
by Reuters
Syrian troops regained control of Al Qaraytan "after eliminating terrorist Daesh (IS) groups that had infiltrated it," state TV said. Photo - File
 
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Beirut: The Syrian army and allied forces recaptured a town from IS on Saturday in central Homs province, where the militants have lost vast territory in recent months, state media said.

Syrian troops regained control of Al Qaraytan "after eliminating terrorist Daesh (IS) groups that had infiltrated it," state TV said.

Earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS militants had seized the town from government forces, part of a counter-attack by the militants who have come under intense pressure in eastern Syria.

The Observatory said on Saturday that some militants had surrendered and others had withdrawn from the town after heavy fighting. The only IS presence in Homs was in a patch of desert in the east of the province, the Britain-based war monitor said.



The town of Al Qaraytan lies some 100 km (60 miles) from the ancient city of Palmyra, and nearly 300 km (190 miles) from Deir Al Zor city, the current focus of the Syrian government's offensive against IS.

With the help of Russian jets and militias, the Syrian army has taken swathes of land from IS in central Syria, including in Homs province. After months of steady gains across the central desert, the army and its allies marched eastwards into Deir Al Zor.

IS militants have been on the back foot across Syria, forced into their last strongholds in the east of the country. The Russian-backed Syrian army and U.S.-backed Syrian militias are waging separate offensives against the militants in Deir Al Zor province, bordering Iraq.

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