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Tags: ML | Syria | The Latest

The Latest: Syrian Government Forces Seize Mayadeen from IS

The Latest: Syrian Government Forces Seize Mayadeen from IS

Saturday, 14 October 2017 08:04 AM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Syria state media say pro-government troops have seized the town of Mayadeen, an Islamic State stronghold in the country's east, after weeks of fighting with the militants.

The Central Military Media, an outlet affiliated with the Syrian military, says the military and allied troops regained full control of the town on Saturday, after intense fighting with the militants.

The pro-government Al-Ikhbariya TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying the militants' defenses collapsed. The official says troops are chasing remnants of the militants out of Mayadeen while military corps of engineers are clearing land mines left in the town.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government troops, backed by Shiite militias, have taken control of the town but are still combing it for militants.

Mayadeen has emerged as refuge for the IS leadership after several other strongholds in Syria crumbled.

1:30 p.m.

The U.S-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group says the militants remaining in the Syrian city of Raqqa are likely left with only small arms to fight for the sliver of land they still control there.

The coalition says in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Saturday that IS militants still in Raqqa are completely cut off from their leadership and likely have only pistols, rifles, light machine guns and a dwindling supply of ammunition,

Despite this assessment, the coalition says it expects difficult days ahead until Raqqa, once the militants' de facto capital, is retaken. Earlier this week, the coalition estimated that 300 to 400 militants remained in the city. On Friday, a local official said an estimated 100 militants surrendered.

This comes as U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces says the final battle for Raqqa is underway. A spokesman for the Kurdish militia that forms the backbone of the SDF, Nouri Mahmoud, says IS extremists still in Raqqa are mostly suicide bombers and special units that go behind enemy lines.

12:40 p.m.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants says "difficult fighting" is expected in the days ahead in the battle to capture Syria's northern city of Raqqa, once considered the de facto capital of the extremist group.

A coalition statement emailed to The Associated Press on Saturday says that it will continue to support Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces until the Islamic State militants are completely defeated. It declined to give a timeline for the complete defeat of IS in Raqqa.

The SDF Kurdish-led forces have been battling for Raqqa since June, backed by U.S. coalition airstrikes, intelligence and advisers on the ground.

SDF officials say the final battle for the city is on, amid reports that scores of IS militants have surrendered. Civilians have also filtered out of the few remaining neighborhoods in the hands of IS. U.S. officials have reported intense bombing campaign in the last few hours.

11:10 a.m.

A spokesman for the U.S.-backed forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria says they are waging the "final" battle to uproot the extremists from the northern city of Raqqa.

Mustafa Bali, the spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said on Saturday that this final battle could take hours or days.

Losing Raqqa, once the de facto capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate, would be a major blow to the militant group.

Bali says IS militants are desperately fighting in a number of neighborhoods in the city.

The battle for Raqqa began in June, with heavy street-by-street fighting amid intense U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and shelling. The battle has dragged in the face of stiff resistance from the militants and civilians trapped in the city.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


MiddleEast
The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):2:10 p.m.Syria state media say pro-government troops have seized the town ofMayadeen, an Islamic State stronghold in the country's east, after weeks of fighting with the militants.The Central Military Media, an outlet...
ML,Syria,The Latest
609
2017-04-14
Saturday, 14 October 2017 08:04 AM
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