Syrian military forces and allies have made advances near the city of Raqqah as they close in on the Daesh-held territories east of the country.
Syria’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that pro-government forces had captured al-Ramilan, a complex containing residential units and a dam located on the southern outskirts of Raqqah.
It said Syrian forces took control over 15 oil and gas wells as well as two water pumping facilities. It added that scores from the ranks of Daesh were killed in the operation while heavy material damage was inflicted on their tanks and military vehicles.
Syria has been making back-to-back to advances against terrorists over the past few months. The army and allied forces managed to liberate some key locations from the grip of terrorists in the north of the country last year. The onus is now on the east, where Daesh holds territories.
Reports on Wednesday said Syrian forces had managed to impose a siege on the Tal Asfar area in the Syrian Desert in the southeast. They said government forces had advanced from the northeastern countryside of Sweida governorate to areas controlled by Daesh in the desert and blocked roads that terrorist groups could use to advance to the south and to the capital Damascus. The gains came as part of a wider operation dubbed Fajr al-Kubra, which has seen Syrians pushing back militants from key locations.
The advances by the Syrian government forces come against the backdrop of incessant infighting among militant groups. Reports on Wednesday said one such insider battle spread through northwestern Syria between terrorists of Ahrar al-Shaam, a group supported by Saudi Arabia, and al-Qaeda-linked militants operating near the Turkish border. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that advocates anti-government militants, said at least 11 people, among them three civilians, were killed in the infighting, which came over the control of Sarmada, an important border town that controls the trade through the vital Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey.
More than six years of militancy has gripped Syria. Reports verified by international groups and the United Nations say more than 300,000 people have been killed and over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of 20 million people have been displaced.