Syrian Army Cuts Off IS Supply Route

A Syrian Army tank heads toward the last bastion  of IS in Syria (File Photo)A Syrian Army tank heads toward the last bastion  of IS in Syria (File Photo)

Syria’s Army and its allies have advanced towards the northern IS-held city of al-Bab on Monday, cutting off the last main supply route that connects to militant strongholds further east toward Iraq, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group monitoring the war, said the army and the Lebanese Hezbollah group made gains southeast of al-Bab overnight, Reuters reported.

Backed by airstrikes, government forces and their allies severed the main road that links the city near the Turkish border to other IS-held territory in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces.

The self-styled Islamic State terrorists are now effectively besieged in the area by the army from the south and by Turkish-backed militants from the north, as Damascus and Ankara race to capture the largest IS stronghold in Aleppo Province.

In less than three weeks, Syrian Army units moved to within 5 km of al-Bab.

Northern Syria is one of the most complicated battlefields of the multi-sided Syrian war, with IS now being fought there by the Syrian Army, Turkey and its militant allies, and an alliance of US-backed Syrian militias.

Turkey launched its campaign in August in Syria, “Euphrates Shield”, in order to secure its frontier from IS and halt the advance of the powerful Kurdish YPG militia.

Turkish troops and FSA militants clashed heavily with IS terrorists around the town of Bazaa, east of al-Bab, in recent days, the Observatory said. Turkish-backed forces had briefly captured the town before IS suicide bombers pushed them out on Saturday.

The Observatory also reported fighting south of al-Bab on Monday between government forces and IS.

Al-Bab sits 40 km northeast of Aleppo, where the government defeated militants in December, its most important gain of the nearly six-year-old war.

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