Syrian soldiers stand on an armored vehicle in a recently captured town in Hama, Syria, on Oct. 3, 2017. The Syrian army succeeded on Tuesday to slice through an enclave controlled by the Islamic State (IS) between the central provinces of Hama and Homs, a monitor group reported. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
DAMASCUS, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army succeeded on Tuesday to slice through an enclave controlled by the Islamic State (IS) between the central provinces of Hama and Homs, a monitor group reported.
The Syrian army has previously managed to besiege IS in an enclave between the eastern countryside of Homs and Hama provinces, but on Tuesday the Syrian forces sliced through those areas, separating the IS-held areas in the eastern countryside of Hama from those in the eastern countryside of Homs.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the progress came following 48 hours of a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army and its allies in the eastern countryside of Homs and Hama.
The London-based watchdog group said the Syrian army also captured four towns in the besieged areas in Hama and Homs countryside.
The observatory, which says it relies on a network of activists on the ground, said with the recent advance, IS controls only 160 km of Hama countryside and 525 km of the eastern countryside of Homs.
Meanwhile, state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying that declaring Homs and Hama free of IS will be soon.
The near-defeat of IS in Hama and Homs would add to their losses in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, a main IS stronghold, where the terror-designated group is losing control, as well as in the northern city of Raqqa, the IS de facto capital.
The observatory previously said that the Syrian army is in control of 75 percent of the capital city of Deir al-Zour, and currently besieging the IS-held areas in the city.
It added that the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controls over 90 percent of Raqqa.