IS counterattack kills 34 Syria regime forces in Raqqa
August 25 2017 12:25 PM
Displaced Syrians queue up to receive food at the Al-Mabrouka camp in the village of Ras al-Ain on t
Displaced Syrians queue up to receive food at the Al-Mabrouka camp in the village of Ras al-Ain on the Syria-Turkey border, where many Syrians who fled from territory held by the Islamic State (IS) group in Raqa and Deir Ezzor are taking shelter

AFP/Beirut

At least 34 Syrian soldiers and allied fighters have been killed in an Islamic State counterattack in the east of Raqqa province, rolling back regime gains, a monitor said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the jihadist group had recaptured large swathes of territory from government forces in the fighting on Thursday.
Syria's army is seeking to advance through Raqqa province to reach neighbouring Deir Ezzor, where jihadists have besieged government forces and civilians in the provincial capital since 2015.
Earlier this month, government troops and allied fighters arrived at the outskirts of Madan, the last IS-held town in the eastern Raqqa province countryside before Deir Ezzor.
But in Thursday's counterattack, IS "made major progress and... expanded the area under its control along the southern bank of the Euphrates," the Observatory said.
"IS has managed to push regime forces back 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the western outskirts of Madan," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The Syria army operation in the area, backed by air support from ally Russia, is separate from the battle for provincial capital Raqqa city.
The effort to oust IS from the city, once the jihadist group's Syrian stronghold, is being led by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
The SDF has captured just under 60 percent of Raqqa city since it entered in June after months of fighting to encircle it.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.



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