A Syrian tank loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad forces is seen in Fleita, Syria August 2, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
DAMASCUS, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government forces have fully besieged the city of Sukhneh, the last stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) in the central province of Homs, state news agency SANA reported on Saturday.
The Syrian forces and allied fighters sieged Sukhneh from three directions, after capturing the strategic Tantur mountain and Duwi cave, said SANA.
Despite the wide-scale offensive of the Syrian army, the IS militants tried to launch a counter offensive on the positions taken by the Syrian army in that area, but their attempt was rendered flat.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group said the Syrian government forces had captured 20 percent of the residential part of the city of Sukhneh.
The UK-based watchdog group said the Syrian forces were still advancing in the city, after the city got exposed to the fire of the Syrian army late last month.
The progress is part of a wide-scale military offensive to drive out IS from the Syrian desert.
Capturing Sukhneh would enable the Syrian army to break the IS siege to the eastern province of Deir al-Zour near Iraq, as the city is located on the road between the ancient city of Palmyra and Deir al-Zour.
The Russian warplanes have been also supporting the ground Syrian troops and allied fighters in their push to clear the desert of IS.