Russian Federation says Syrian forces clear IS stronghold in Homs province

State media says the army has killed Islamic State militants and destroyed their equipment in the town of Al-Sukhna in the Homs province of Syria.

“On August 13, 2017, in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and militia west of the Homs Province, Es Sukhne is fully liberated from militants of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia – TASS)”, the ministry said.

These gains enable further advances into eastern areas held by Islamic State (ISIS), including the province of Deir al-Zor, where the circle around jihadists is slowly forming as the government forces are pushing from their positions in southern parts of Raqqa province.

“Over the past two months, the larger territory has been liberated [from terrorists] than it had been under control of the Syrian government [before the Russian forces engagement]”.

The Islamic State has lost the brunt of its territory in Syria to separate campaigns led by Russian Federation and United States backed coalition forces.

Daish controls almost all of Deir Al Zor province, which is bordered to the east by Iraq.

Unidentified assailants shot dead the White Helmets rescue service early on Saturday during a raid on their base in the town of Sarmin, nine kilometres east of the city of Idlib, that is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir Al Sham radicals alliance.

The White Helmets emerged in 2013, working to rescue civilians in rebel-held areas.

Their detractors, including President Bashar Al Assad’s government and his ally Russian Federation, accuse them of being tools of their worldwide donors.