Syria’s army and its allies advanced towards the northern Islamic-State held city of al-Bab on Monday, cutting off the last main supply route that connects to militant strongholds further east towards Iraq, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group monitoring the war, said the army and the Lebanese Hezbollah group made gains southeast of al-Bab overnight.
Backed by air strikes, government forces and their allies severed the main road that links the city near the Turkish border to other IS-held territory in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces.
Islamic State militants are now effectively besieged in the area, by the army from the south and by Turkish-backed rebels from the north, as Damascus and Ankara race to capture the largest IS stronghold in Aleppo province.
The Syrian army’s advance towards al-Bab risks triggering a confrontation with the Turkish military and its allies, groups fighting under the Free Syria Army banner, which have been waging their own campaign to take the city.
In less than three weeks, Syrian army units moved to within 5 km (3 miles) of al-Bab, as Damascus seeks to stop its neighbour, Turkey, penetrating deeper into a strategic area of northern Syria.
SOURCE: News Now/ Reuters News Agency