Syria army and allied militia press IS, rebels on offensive

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government-controlled media and a war monitor say Syrian troops and allied militia have pushed back Islamic State group militants and rebel fighters in a wide offensive in the country’s southern desert.

The government advances reported Saturday widen its control south of Palmyra in Homs province, where IS had a presence, and secure the highway linking the ancient city to the capital Damascus.

The Syrian Central Military media says the new advances have also successfully isolated rebel fighters in the desert area east of Damascus, denying them advances toward the strategic Homs desert area.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government and allied troops have also advanced in areas controlled by U.S-backed Syrian opposition fighters in the desert near the border with Jordan, where tension has been brewing.

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