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Syrian regime seizes last IS-held town in Homs province Open in fullscreen

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Syrian regime seizes last IS-held town in Homs province

The Islamic State is rapidly losing ground in Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 August, 2017

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The Syrian regime and allied militias took the last stronghold of IS in Homs province, clearing a route to advance on the group's remaining territories in the country's east.

The Syrian regime army and allied militias seized the last stronghold of the Islamic State group in the Homs province on Saturday, clearing a route to advance on the militants' territories in the country's east.

Al-Sukhna is 70km north-east of the ancient city of Palmyra and was the last town on the road to Deir az-Zor, where a regime garrison has held out under siege from IS since 2015.

The town was captured after heavy regime artillery fire and airstrikes by Damascus ally Russia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

There was no official confirmation of the capture from Syria's regime, but the government's state news agency SANA reported earlier on Saturday that the army was advancing on al-Sukhna from three directions.

A Hizballah media unit had also said the regime and allied forces were making considerable progress in the city.

Since May, the Syrian regime has conducted a military campaign - with Russian support - to recapture the vast desert separating Damascus from Deir az-Zor.

IS is rapidly losing ground in Syria as the regime makes advances against them in the Hama and Homs provinces, while US-backed Kurdish forces battle to recapture Raqqa - the group's main urban centre.

At its peak in 2014, IS ruled over a population of around 12 million people - roughly the same size as Zimbabwe or half of Syria.

On Thursday the UN marked the third anniversary of the Yazidi genocide, where IS fighters massacred and enslaved the Iraqi minority group for their belief in a different religion.

Nearly 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in IS captivity today.

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