DAMASCUS, Nov.15 (Xinhua) -- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) became 15 km from the Iraqi border, after advancing in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria's Deir al-Zour, a monitor group reported Wednesday.
The progress comes as the SDF became 20 km from the eastern city of al-Bukamal, in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour, near the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The U.S.-backed SDF and the Russian-supported Syrian army have been racing to capture al-Bukamal, due to its strategic location on the border between Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this month, the Syrian army captured al-Bukamal, which was the last IS stronghold in eastern Syria.
Later, the army lost the city again to IS, which apparently pushed the SDF to attempt to advance in the hope of capturing the city.
The Syrian army and its Iranian-backed forces with the backing of Russian air force have been on a counter-offensive to drive out IS from the city.
The SDF succeeded last month to capture IS de facto capital of Raqqa from IS. The Syrian army also stripped the IS group of the capital city of Deir al-Zour.
Even though both are fighting IS, the Syrian army and SDF are fighting against the terror-labeled group separately, with the Syrian army questioning the intentions of the SDF due to their allegiance to the U.S.-led coalition, which the Syrian army accused of committing crimes in Syria.