Daesh militants lose ground in Syria town after major attack: monitor

Violent clashes were ongoing in Albu Kamal, which lies in the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 09 June 2018
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Daesh militants lose ground in Syria town after major attack: monitor

  • Violent clashes were ongoing in Albu Kamal, which lies in the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria
  • On Friday, Daesh used at least 10 suicide bombers in its offensive on Albu Kamal, swiftly taking several of its neighborhoods

BEIRUT: Daesh had lost ground Saturday in a town on the Syrian-Iraqi border after pro-regime forces repelled a major attack the day before, a Britain-based monitor said.
Violent clashes were ongoing in Albu Kamal, which lies in the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
“Daesh has retreated from inside the town to its western and northwestern parts” after pro-regime forces pushed back the extremists, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Pro-government reinforcements had arrived, he said.
On Friday, Daesh used at least 10 suicide bombers in its offensive on Albu Kamal, swiftly taking several of its neighborhoods, the monitor said.
It was the biggest attack on the town since the terrorist group lost it in November 2017, and the latest in a string of attacks by Daesh across Syria.
Neither Syrian state media nor the army reported Friday’s attack on Albu Kamal.
The fighting in the town over the past 24 hours has killed 30 pro-regime fighters, the Observatory said.
These include 16 regime troops among them a general, as well as 14 non-Syrian combattants, notably Iranians and Lebanese Hezbollah movement fighters, the monitor said.
Twenty-one Daesh terrorists were also killed in that same period, including the 10 suicide bombers, according to the same source.
Daesh has ramped up its attacks against pro-regime forces since its fighters in May left their last bastion near Damascus under an evacuation deal with the regime.
Daesh in 2014 proclaimed a cross-border “caliphate” in Syria and neighboring Iraq, but has since lost most of its territory to various military offensives.
Its presence is mostly confined to pockets of eastern Syria in the vast desert stretching from the country’s center to the border with Iraq.
Earlier this week, Daesh assaults in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor killed 45 pro-regime fighters.
On Thursday, Daesh terrorists also killed 22 pro-regime fighters in surprise attacks in the southern province of Sweida, a monitor said.


Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

Updated 7 min 23 sec ago
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Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

ANKARA: Turkey said Monday it does not fear US sanctions over its decision to buy a Russian missile defense system that has frayed ties between the NATO allies.
The United States has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to drop the purchase of the S-400 system, or face sanctions and removal from its F-35 fighter jet program.
“Regardless of whatever sanctions there may be, whatever the messages from America, we’ve bought the S-400,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.
He said Turkey was working on the date for the system’s delivery, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said would be in the first half of July.
“If there’s an attack on Turkey tomorrow, we cannot expect NATO to protect us because NATO’s capacity would only protect 30 percent of Turkey’s airspace,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey will no longer allow other countries to dictate its defense purchases, he said.
Relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over multiple issues, including the S-400 deal and US support for a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Turkey.
Sanctions could cause damage at a time when Turkey’s economy is already struggling.
Its currency lost a third of its value last year, in part due to temporary US sanctions over the detention of an American pastor.
Turkey has plans to buy 100 F-35s, and has lucrative contracts to build parts of the jet.
Erdogan said last week he would use his “good” relationship with US counterpart Donald Trump to defuse the crisis when they meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan this week.