Saturday 21 October 2017

US-backed fighters make gains against Islamic State in northern Syria

The latest advance by the Kurdish-led SDF showed that operations were still ongoing after last week's US missile attack on a Syrian army air base (US Navy/AP)
The latest advance by the Kurdish-led SDF showed that operations were still ongoing after last week's US missile attack on a Syrian army air base (US Navy/AP)
Undated handout photo issued by the US Navy of USS Porter (DDG 78) firing a tomahawk land attack missile from the Mediterranean Sea, as Britain backed the US missile strike on a Syrian air base as an "appropriate response" to Bashar Assad regime's "barbaric" chemical attack.

US-backed Syrian fighters have pushed ahead in their offensive in northern Syria against members of the Islamic State group.

Under the cover of US-led coalition air strikes, they have been getting closer to a strategic town that is home to the country's largest dam.

The latest advance by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) showed that operations were still ongoing after last week's US missile attack on a Syrian army air base in the country's centre.

That attack followed a chemical attack on the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed 87 people.

The US blamed the Syrian government for the attack - a charge that Syria strongly denied, saying it hit a rebel arsenal that had chemical weapons.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting between the SDF and IS members on the eastern outskirts of the town of Tabqa left at least 11 extremists dead.

It said 36 IS fighters have been killed in the fighting since Sunday.

The SDF said on social media that its fighters marched about three kilometres from the eastern side of Tabqa, the location of Syria's largest dam.

Last week, SDF fighters captured the area of Safsafeh east of Tabqa, laying siege to the town.

On March 22, US aircraft ferried forces behind militant lines in the Tabqa area to spearhead a major assault near the extremists' de facto capital, Raqqa.

AP

Press Association

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