The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian army breached the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Al-Raqqah province on Saturday following a large-scale attack with support from Russia.
The Syrian army’s attack reached the administrative borders of Al Raqqah after the Russian air force bombarded locations seized by the terrorist group.
The Syrian army is now attempting to move towards the Euphrates River and the Al-Raqqah- Aleppo Road in order to corner IS militants in Aleppo from three vantage points, according to the Syrian observatory.
Twenty-six IS members were killed during operations, according to reports.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces are attacking IS militias in several locations in Aleppo backed by US forces.
The attack aims to prevent IS from having access to Turkish borders, which are considered a main source of arms and supplies.
The Russian Reconciliation Centre for Opposing Parties in Syria reported that armed groups led by Al-Nusra Front are moving forwards in southern Aleppo.
“The militants are using small arms and artillery in strikes on the Sheikh Maqsood Kurdish area in Aleppo and positions of the government forces near Handrarat. During the night, the militants of terrorist groups delivered intensive mortar attacks on residential areas in northern Aleppo,” the centre’s representative said, according to state-run news agency TASS.
“Fierce fighting now continues in Sheikh Maqsood; the militants are using armored vehicles there,” he said, adding that on Saturday in Sheikh Maqsood there was major “destruction and dozens of civilians were injured”.
US fighters continued attacking IS targets in Syria for the second day, reported Reuters, citing a US official.
The attacks on IS targets in Syria come amid an attack on Falluja by the Iraqi army, one of the strongholds of the group in Syria’s neighbouring country.
However, the Iraqi army slowed down their attack in an attempt to protect civilians. The UN estimates that 50,000 civilians are still living in Falluja.
The city was seized in January 2014 by IS, which at the time controlled a wide area of northern Iraq and declared it a Caliphate along with land it had seized in Syria.
An Iraqi army statement previously said troops entered from the southern part of the city, and “kept moving forward”.
The Shia troops controlled the village of Al-Saklawiya in northern Falluja with support from the air force.
Lieutenant General Abdelwahab Al-Saadi, the commander of the operation, said: “Iraqi forces entered Falluja under air cover from the international coalition, the Iraqi air force and army aviation, and supported by artillery and tanks.”