BEIRUT - The Syrian army and allied militias, backed by Russian bombardments, took control of two towns in western Syria after heavy battles with Islamic State fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Monday.
Syrian state media also reported the military and a local force had taken control of Mheen and Hawwarin towns, to the southeast of Homs city, and had killed a large number of Islamic State militants.
The two towns lie to the east of the north-south highway running through Syria's major cities that is crucial to control of mainly government-held territory in the west of the country. They are also close to roads that link the Islamic State-held city of Palmyra in the central Syrian desert to western cities.
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