DAMASCUS, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Syrian troops have recaptured over 4,500 sq km of desert areas from the militant group Islamic State (IS) in several parts of the country in the past days, the Syrian army said Wednesday.
Most of the battles were fought in eastern Syria, where the army regained control of 2,400 sq km of terrain east of the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria near the Syrian-Iraqi border, the army was quoted by the state news agency SANA as saying.
In the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, the army liberated some areas of about 1,200 sq km, after eliminating a number of IS militants.
The Syrian army also recaptured some territories, estimated at around 1,300 sq km, from IS in south of the capital Damascus.
Most of the recaptured areas are in the Syrian desert, where IS still controls several pockets.
The military operation is part of the Syrian army's efforts to eliminate the IS threat and secure more areas near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
IS lost control of key areas last year to the Syrian army and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern province of al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zour.