Beirut – U.S. backed Syrian rebels have made more advances towards a key Islamic State-held town on the border with Iraq, a monitoring group said Wednesday.
The New Syrian Army (NSA), a small force trained by neighbouring Jordan, managed to recapture at dawn Al-Hamdan Airport.
The Airport is only 5 kilometres north-west of the border town of al-Bu Kamal, a key link between Islamic State’s territories in the two countries, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based watchdog described the ongoing battles between the NSA and Islamic State fighters as heavy, amid strikes by the US-led coalition on bases manned by the jihadist group.
Al-Hamdan airport used to be an agriculture facility that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad transformed into a heliport during the early stages of the Syrian uprising in 2011 the group stated.
On Tuesday, the NSA had advanced within 15 kilometres of the border town of al-Bu Kamal, , observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told dpa.
The force appears to have advanced quickly eastwards across the desert from its base at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing of al-Tanf, which they captured from Islamic State months earlier.
Al-Bu Kamal lies about 120 kilometres south-east of Deir al-Zour, the main city in Syria’s eastern province, which is almost entirely controlled by Islamic State.
Local ground forces, backed by U.S. Airstrikes, have by now retaken a number of border crossings between Syria and Iraq from Islamic State.
This is in an apparent attempt to impede the extremist group’s communications and force movements. (dpa/NAN)