Al-Qaida-led fighters on the offensive against Syrian troops

Al-Qaida-led fighters on the offensive against Syrian troops

Al-Qaida-led fighters on the offensive against Syrian troops

While Syrian regime forces had primarily operated on the western side of the Euphrates River and SDF forces on the eastern side, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement Monday saying regime troops, backed by Russian airpower, had crossed over to the river's eastern bank near the city of Deir Ezzor, bringing them in increasingly close proximity to an SDF offensive targeting ISIS elsewhere in the province.

Syrian armed forces supported by the Russian Air Force have regained control of 87.4 percent of the country, Russia's military said, adding that Russian warplanes had destroyed over 96,000 terrorist targets in the course of the two-year campaign.

Abu Khawla, who fought against the Syrian regime in the civil war before ISIS rose in Syria, and who hails from a powerful tribe in the area, said this would place the province is back in the hands of "its rightful owners".

It was not immediately clear when or where these forces have been deployed but a Russian defense ministry statement said that their aim is to assist the Syrian government in its offensive outside Deir Ezzor city.

His remarks came amid rising concerns of a confrontation on the ground between Russia-backed Syrian government forces and the USA -backed forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) militants who captured large swathes of Syrian territory in 2014.

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The risk of a direct clash escalated in the past week as Russian-backed Syrian forces fighting against Islamic State crossed the river Euphrates, after breaking an nearly three-year jihadist siege of the city of Deir Ezzor. There are concerns about possible clashes on the river's eastern bank between Syrian army units and the SDF.

"We still expect tough fighting ahead but with our partners' battlefield successes, their increase capacity and continued support from the coalition, we will keep the pressure on ISIS until they are defeated in both Iraq and Syria", Col. Dillon stressed.

"We had to very quickly provide a force that can defeat them militarily", he said.

US -backed forces are close to liberating the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after a mass withdrawal, meaning it is "game over" for the jihadi capital of the self-styled caliphate, a Syrian monitoring group told Newsweek on Wednesday.

"A representative of U.S. command in Al Udeid [Air Base], Qatar, was notified in severe form that attempts to attack from districts where SDF fighters are located will be repelled", he said in a statement.

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The meeting of the Russian and USA -backed offensives near Deir Ezzor has escalated tensions between the two sides in eastern Syria.

The UN estimates up to 25,000 people could remain trapped in the city, though the Observatory said the number is now fewer than 10,000.

While the Pentagon says there are about 500 USA troops now deployed to Syria - mostly special operations forces - the actual number is unknown and believed to be much higher.

"SDF militants work to the same objectives as Daesh terrorists".

The U.S. -backed coalition said the SDF had "isolated the majority of northeast Raqqa and continue (s) back-clearance operations".

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Moscow said the US-backed force was impeding the battle against IS, a charge dismissed by Washington. Russian Federation said it had only carried out strikes against ISIS, and that it had used the normal channels to communicate its planned attack.

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