Syrian army takes town from Islamic State in Homs

By REUTERS
October 21, 2017 15:26
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BEIRUT, Oct 21 - The Syrian army and allied forces recaptured a town from Islamic State on Saturday in central Homs province, where the jihadists have lost vast territory in recent months, state media said.

Syrian troops regained control of al-Qaraytan "after eliminating terrorist Daesh groups that had infiltrated it," state TV said using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State fighters had seized the town from government forces, part of a counter-attack by the jihadists 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The Observatory said on Saturday that some militants had surrendered and others had withdrawn from the town after heavy fighting.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 Islamic State 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 Islamic State.

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