DAMASCUS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army said Friday that its forces have ended the presence of the Islamic State (IS) militants in the countrysides of the central province of Hama and northern Aleppo province, according to state news agency SANA.
In a statement, the Syria army said its forces have captured a large number of towns and villages in the countrysides of Hama, Aleppo and the northwestern province of Idlib.
With this progress, the Syrian army ended the presence of IS in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama, said the statement, adding that the progress also ended the presence of the majority of the fighters of the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee, otherwise known as the Nusra Front, in the southern countryside of Aleppo.
The progress of the Syrian army also helps in securing several routes between Hama and Aleppo as well as roads connecting those provinces with eastern Syria and the Syrian-Iraqi borders.
The statement concluded by stressing resolve to fight the terrorists in Syria and foil the schemes of the "terrorist backers."
The IS militants have lost all major strongholds in Syria last year when the Syrian army captured IS-held areas in Deir al-Zour city in eastern Syria and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces stripped the terror-designated group of its de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.
Now, the Syrian army will keep fighting until eradicating the remaining al-Qaida-linked groups in the southern countryside of Aleppo.