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Syrian forces advance on IS territories near Palmyra Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian forces advance on IS territories near Palmyra

The advance comes a week following the Palmyra victory [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2016

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Islamic State militants have lost yet another key city to Syrian forces just a week after they captured Tadmur.

Syrian troops recaptured the Islamic State group's key al-Qaryatain town on Sunday in a new blow to the militants a week after being expelled from Palmyra, state television said.

"The army with backing from supporting forces [pro-regime militia] brings back complete security and stability to the town of Al-Qaryatain, after crushing Daesh terrorists' last remaining positions there," state television said, referring to IS.

But the London-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting between regime soldiers and militants continued in the east and southeast of the town, located in the deserts of the Homs province.

"Clashes are still ongoing in the east and southeast of the town," it said.

The advance on the IS bastion comes just a week after Syrian forces seized the ancient city of Palmyra after being under IS control since May last year.

A mass grave containing bodies of 42 civilians and soldiers believed to have been executed by the Islamic State group [IS] was found when soldiers combed the area.

News of Palmyra's recapture by Syrian regime forces was met with some public acclaim, particularly among western archaeologists and antiquities experts in view of the destruction of the UNESCO heritage site by the militants.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Hafez's son, hailed the victory as "important" and offered "fresh proof of the efficiency of the Syrian army and its allies in fighting terrorism".

The opposition Syrian Coalition was more critical, stating that the Assad regime had allowed the IS group to expand and flourish in Syria in the first place.

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