DAMASCUS, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against the Islamic State (IS) group in the countryside of the northern province of al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS, a monitor group reported on Monday.
Violent clashes are still incessant in the countryside of al-Raqqa between the SDF and the IS coupled with heavy shelling targeting the IS positions, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UK-based watchdog group said the SDF has become in control of 12 towns in the eastern countryside of al-Raqqa since starting its attack in recent months.
The aim of the attack on IS in al-Raqqa is to cut off the road between the city and the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, and to completely isolate the city from its countryside as a prelude to storm al-Raqqa, according to the Observatory, which says it relies on a network of activists on ground.
This comes as the IS has suffered losses during battles with the Syrian army in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria.
The general-command of the Syrian army said Monday that as many as 48 towns and villages have been liberated in Aleppo countryside from IS since the Syrian unleashed a wide-scale military campaign on that region last month.