“IS started counter-attacking on Thursday night and retook more than 40 percent of the town of Albu Kamal,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.
Syrian regime forces and allied fighters had recaptured the town, which lies on the border with Iraq in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, from the jihadists on Thursday.
Albu Kamal lies at the heart of what used to be the sprawling “caliphate” the group declared in 2014 over swathes of Iraq and Syria.
“The jihadists went back in and retook several neighborhoods in the north, northeast and northwest,” Abdel Rahman said. “IS is trying to defend its last bastion.”
The jihadist organization has in the space of a few weeks seen its caliphate shrink to a small rump and lost major cities such as Mosul, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
Albu Kamal was the last town of note it controlled and losing it would cap the group’s reversion to an underground guerrilla organization with no urban base.
According to Syria state TV, the regime and auxiliary forces had retaken full control of it by Thursday.