Syrian army, allies take back Albu Kamal from IS
November 19, 2017 | 7:08 PM
by Reuters
A shot is fired from the back of a truck in Albu Kamal, Syria in this still image taken from a video obtained by Reuters on November 19, 2017. Photo - Reuters TV

Beirut: The Syrian army and its allies took complete control over Albu Kamal, IS's last significant town in Syria, a military news service run by Hezbollah said on Sunday.

The army had declared victory over IS in Albu Kamal earlier this month but the extremists then staged a counter-attack using sleeper cells hidden in the town.

Driving IS from Albu Kamal means only a few villages along the Euphrates and patches of nearby desert, as well as isolated pockets in other parts of the country, remain in Syria of the caliphate it declared in 2014.

Most of the forces battling IS in Syria and Iraq have said they expect it to go underground and turn to a guerrilla insurgency using sleeper cells and bombings. Western intelligence agencies have said it will still be able to inspire attacks on civilians around the world.

"The Syrian Army and its allies in the axis of resistance have expelled Daesh from its last stronghold on Syrian soil," the Hezbollah news service reported.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that most IS members withdrew from the town, with fighting continuing in the perimeter of Albu Kamal.

IS's area of rule in Syria has crumbled this year under two rival military campaigns. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, backed by a U.S.-led coalition has driven it from much of its territory in the north, including its former Syrian capital Raqqa. Syria's army and its allies have waged an offensive across central and eastern Syria backed by Russian air and missile power.

The two offensives have mostly avoided conflict with each other through communication between the United States and Russia.

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news