Syrian army advances into Raqqa in major anti-ISIS assault

Monday, February 15, 2016
By Paul Martin

RT.com
15 Feb, 2016

Syrian army units and paramilitary forces are reportedly moving into Raqqa province, seizing strategically important areas along the Salamiyah-Raqqa road which leads directly into the Islamic State stronghold.

On Sunday, Syrian government forces and Palestinian armed militia captured the strategically important Tal Masbah hilltop, the last entrenched Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) position.

The fortified position guarded approaches to the Salamiyah-Raqqa highway, leading to the terror group’s stronghold in the city of Raqqa, Al-Masdar news outlet reported, citing a military source.

Later that day, the Syrian government army launched a massive assault on the village of Zakiyah and seized an important crossroads near the village, cutting IS’s major supply route from Raqqa to nearby Hama province.

The Syrian government army’s 555th Brigade, 4th Mechanized Division, “Desert Hawks” brigade and Golani regiment, as well as the pro-government Palestinian Liwaa Al-Quds militia (Jerusalem brigade) took part in both ground offensives.

A source in the 555th brigade told Al-Masdar that IS militants entrenched at Tal Masbah hilltop were forced to flee northeast towards the desert on the Raqqa-Hama border, where an intense battle between the terror group and government forces is taking place.

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