Syrian troops press on with assaults against IS
The Syrian troops on Thursday advanced in a contested town in the southern province of Daraa and killed a local commander of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in that town, according to the state news agency SANA, Xinhua writes.
The Syrian troops killed Abu Hammam al-Jasrawi, a Saudi fighter who was leading the fighters of the Nusra Front in the town of Sheikh Miskin, where intense battles have been raging between the al-Qaida-affiliate group and the Syrian army for days, according to SANA.
The Syrian forces also killed a rebel commander called Hamzah Jamus, the leader of the Abn Qayem Jawziya battalion in the town.
Citing military sources, SANA said units of the Syrian army killed "terrorists" who had attempted to attack military outposts in Sheikh Miskin, which is 22 klm north of Daraa and constitutes an important knot that links many areas in southern Syria.
The state news agency said the Syrian troops continued to undertake "precise and qualitative" operations against the Nusra fighters and likeminded groups in Sheikh Miskin, adding that town has become fully exposed to the Syrian army's fire.
SANA said the army forces dealt "heavy blows" to the rebels in several areas in Daraa as well.
Meanwhile, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that battles are still ongoing in Sheikh Miskin between the Syrian troops backed by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia and the extremist groups.
The UK-based group, which relies on a network of activists on ground, said a commander of Hezbollah was killed a day earlier during the incessant battles there.
Separately, the Observatory said the Syrian troops backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF), a pro-government militia, and Hezbollah clashed with the Nusra Front and other hardline groups at the northeastern entrance of the northwestern province of Aleppo. A Syrian officer was killed during the clashes, said the Observatory, spelling no further details.
In the central province of Homs, the Syrian government troops fired multiple mortar shells against the rebel-held city of Talbiseh in the countryside of Homs, without information on losses yet, said the Observatory.
It added that clashes continued between the Syrian forces and the Islamic State (IS) militants in the vicinity of the al-Shaer natural gas field in Homs countryside.