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Islamic State Loses Al-Mayadeen in Eastern Syria

Syrian women and children gather on the western front after fleeing the center of Raqa on October 12.Syrian women and children gather on the western front after fleeing the center of Raqa on October 12.

Syrian government and allied forces have taken the eastern town of al-Mayadeen from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, a Syrian military source said on Saturday, further weakening the militants’ diminishing presence in Syria.

Al-Mayadeen, near the Iraqi border in Deir al-Zor Province, had become a major base for IS militants as they were being driven out of their de facto Syrian capital in Raqqa city by another offensive, Reuters reported.

The Syrian government campaign to take al-Mayadeen has been supported by heavy Russian air strikes.

Al-Mayadeen lies south of the provincial capital Deir al-Zor city, where Syrian and allied forces are also trying to oust the militants from a small pocket they still control.

The Syrian military source said the militants in al-Mayadeen had suffered a “collapse” in their ranks.

  Dozens of IS Members Surrender

Dozens of IS group fighters have surrendered in their former Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the US-led coalition said Saturday, as the fall of the one-time militant bastion nears.

A monitor said no Syrian members of the militant group remained in Raqqa, and that negotiations on the fate of foreign fighters were ongoing, AFP reported.

But the US-led coalition backing the offensive insisted that foreign fighters would not be allowed to leave the city.

Raqqa was once the de facto Syrian capital of the militant group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria.

The city’s loss would be the latest in a string of heavy blows for IS, which has already been driven from its strongholds in Iraq including second city Mosul.

In June, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, broke into Raqqa, and since then they have captured around 90% of the city.

In recent days, talks had been under way on a deal to secure the last parts of Raqqa while protecting trapped civilians, some of them being used by IS fighters as human shields.

On Saturday, the coalition confirmed dozens of IS fighters had handed themselves in.

“Within the past 24 hours, approximately 100 IS terrorists have surrendered in Raqqa, and were removed from the city,” the coalition said in a statement in response to AFP questions.

 

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