This progress in the countryside of Homs, in the Syrian desert around Palmyra, is part of the military operation to secure a triangle of areas between Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders. (Reuters photo)
DAMASCUS, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army and its allies are making quick advance against the Islamic State (IS) group in the southeastern countryside of Homs province in central Syria, a military source told Xinhua on Thursday.
On Thursday, the Syrian army and allied forces captured the town of Khnaifis in southern Homs after battles with IS, and the units there met with another military unit that was advancing in areas near the ancient city of Palmyra, said the source, on condition of anonymity.
The Syrian army also captured the town of Bardeh and the Zkakiyeh mountain in the same region.
This progress in the countryside of Homs, in the Syrian desert around Palmyra, is part of the military operation to secure a triangle of areas between Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders.
On May 18, the U.S. air force struck a convoy of pro-government fighters advancing in the desert near the Tanf border crossing with Iraq.
Then, reports said the U.S. was protecting its troops and rebels its backing in Tanf, where the U.S. and Britain have bases.
At the time, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said America's role in Syria's conflict was unchanged after the strikes.
"No. We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war. But we will defend our troops," Mattis said, when asked about the strikes.
For its part, the Syrian army stressed that it will continue to fight the terrorist groups and capture areas near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, as it's the "legitimate" duty of the Syrian army.
Since then, the army and its allies of Shiite fighters continued to make progress in the desert and are reportedly closing in on areas where the U.S. troops are located.