The Kurds, aided by US-led air strikes and smaller Syrian rebel groups, have pushed to within 7 km (4 miles) of Ain Issa, a town 50 km (30 miles) north of Daesh’s de facto capital Raqqa city, said Redur Xelil, spokesman for the Kurdish forces.
The rapid advance into Raqqa province has defied expectations of a protracted battle between the Kurdish YPG group and Daesh fighters, who waged a four-month battle for the border town of Kobani, where the Kurds finally defeated the militants in January.
Raqqa is the main seat of power in Syria for Daesh.
Syria’s army, meanwhile, advanced this weekend west of the ancient city of Palmyra, reopening a key supply route for oil and gas to the capital, a newspaper and monitoring group said on Monday.
“The infantry has made tangible progress in the area of west Biyarat,” said the Al-Watan daily, which is close to the government. It said the army had “intensified” its operations against the Daesh in Palmyra and the surrounding area.
“This weekend, the regime ousted Daesh from Al Biyarat and is now about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Palmyra,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the capture of the area “allows the regime to secure a transport route for oil from the Jazal field... to other Syrian cities under its control.”
Pro-government forces recaptured Jazal, which lies about 20 kilometres north-west of Palmyra, from Daesh forces last week.
It is one of the few Syrian oil fields still in government hands.
A spokesman for the Pentagon said last week Daesh forces had appeared to “crack” at the Turkish border town of Tel Abyad, which fell to the YPG in less than two days, cutting Daesh supply route from Turkey.
Gulf in the Media
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