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Syria army thrusts into IS bastion as Kurds advance from north

The lightning advance from the southwest with Russian air support brought the army to within 40 kilometres of the Euphrates Valley town of Tabqa. The dam is also the target of the Washington-backed offensive which Kurdish-led fighters launched late last month.

  It was the first time that government troops had entered Raqa province since they were ousted by IS fighters in 2014. “Army troops were backed by militia newly trained by the regime’s ally Russia”, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. 

 “The twin offensives which threaten to cut off IS-held Raqa from jihadist-held territory raised suspicions that Moscow and Washington were covertly coordinating operations by their respective Syrian allies.   

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