Syria troops capture Christian town recently taken by IS
Syrian government forces and their allies regained control on Saturday of a predominantly Christian central town that sleeper cells of the Islamic State group captured late last month.
The government-run Syrian Central Military Media said "the Syrian army and its allies have restored security and stability to Qaryatain" after clearing the town of out IS fighters.
The capture of Qaryatain came after nearly three weeks of fighting that saw IS capture areas it had earlier lost in an offensive by Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militiamen under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Earlier this week, IS lost control of the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate, after a four-month offensive by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Last week, IS lost its stronghold of Mayadeen in eastern Syria.
US President Donald Trump issued a statement Saturday commending the US-led coalition partners on "liberating" Raqqa, adding that they had made "more progress against these evil terrorists in the past several months" than others had done in years.
He added that the end of the Islamic State group's self-styled caliphate "is in sight."
IS still holds parts of Syria's eastern Deir az-Zour province and Iraq's Anbar province, as well as small, scattered pockets elsewhere. The loss of Qaryatain is another blow for the extremist group.
Earlier this month, the Russian military accused the US of helping IS launch a series of attacks against Syrian troops.
Moscow said that IS launched a series of attacks in late September week from the area around Tanf near Syria's border with Jordan, where US military advisers are based.
The Russians said the IS attacks near Qaryatain in the Homs province, and a key highway linking Palmyra and Deir az-Zour, would not have been possible without US intelligence.