IS militants evacuate last stronghold in Syria to government

Nov 10, 2017, 01:06
IS militants evacuate last stronghold in Syria to government

Albu Kamal, on the Euphrates River, is located in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zor province on the Iraqi border.

The two groups had been making significant gains against IS in their respective countries in recent weeks.

"The liberation of Albu Kamal city is very important because it signals the general fall of the terrorist Daesh organisation's project in the region", an army statement said, using an Arabic term for Islamic State.

The militants overran vast areas of both Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014, establishing a "caliphate".

Hezbollah were "the foundation in the battle of Albu Kamal", said the commander, adding that hundreds of the elite forces of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group took part in the battle.

Syrian state television also confirmed that "al-Bukamal is liberated".

However, UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the town was still under siege and there was fierce fighting in the area.

Meanwhile, Syrian army units have reached Iraqi government stationed along the border of the town. Last month they captured IS's self-styled capital, Raqqa.

The capture of the key town of Al-Qaim and a nearby border crossing on Nov 3 left the smaller neighbouring outpost of Rawa and surrounding scraps of desert as all that remains under IS control in Iraq.