Syrian army captures 1,400 square km from IS in desert

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-04 04:44:24|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAMASCUS, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army and allied fighters have captured 1,400 square km from the Islamic State (IS) group in the Syrian desert over the past 24 hours, state news agency SANA reported on Saturday.

The progress is part of the ongoing military offensive against IS in the Syrian desert east of the ancient city of Palmyra, SANA said, citing a military statement.

The military offensive in the Syrian desert is ongoing, added the report.

The Syrian army recently declared the commencement of the Great Dawn offensive against IS on several Syrian fronts, mainly in the Syrian desert, which aims to dislodge the terror-designated group from a triangle of border areas between the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders.

The operation also includes in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria, where the army killed thousands of IS militants over the past few days.

On May 18, the US air force struck a convoy of pro-government fighters advancing in the desert near the Tanf border crossing with Iraq.

Then, reports said the US was protecting its troops and rebels its backing in Tanf, where the US and Britain have bases.

At the time, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim 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 US troops are located.

The Russian air force also played an important role, striking convoys of the IS group fleeing from Raqqa province toward the Syrian desert close to Palmyra.