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Syrian army, allies close in on Islamic State in Deir al-Zor

Syrian army, allies close in on Islamic State in Deir al-Zor
From Reuters - September 17, 2017

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian troops seized a suburb of the city of Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria on Sunday, tightening the noose around Islamic State militants, a military source said.

Oil-rich Deir al-Zor province, which borders Iraq, is Islamic States last major foothold in Syria.

The Syrian army pushed into Deir al-Zor city this month, with Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, breaking an Islamic State siege of an enclave that had lasted three years.

Russias RIA news agency cited an unnamed source as saying that the Syrian army cut Islamic States main supply line in the city on Sunday after taking control of the al-Jafra district.

The Syrian military source said the army and allied forces captured al-Jafra on the western bank of the Euphrates. Islamic State militants could only escape across the river.

They have no outlet except crossing the Euphrates towards the eastern bank and fleeing towards the desert, or (the towns of) al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin, the source told Reuters.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and its allies took al-Jafra and other villages near the citys air base overnight.

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