Syrian rebels push into IS-held territories in Syrian desert

Syrian rebels push into IS-held territories in Syrian desert
IS have been pushed back in southern Syria following a rebel offensive to liberate areas close to Damascus from the militant group.
1 min read
27 March, 2017
Despite an official ceasefire, Syria is still rocked by violence [Anadolu]
Free Syrian Army rebels have captured large parts of the Syrian desert in the country's south from the Islamic State group, following a successful offensive over the weekend.

Rebel fighters managed to capture Bir Qasab and other villages from IS in the eastern Sweideh region, and look set to push the militants out of the region.

It follows a two-prong offensive from rebel fighters from the eastern Qalamoun region and the Syrian desert aimed at liberating opposition areas surrounded by IS and regime forces.

Both lie east of the opposition-held suburbs of Damascus, which has been under heavy bombardment by regime war planes on Sunday.

Footage by Syrian activists have shown huge explosions across Ghouta, while fighting taking place in the rebel-held Jobar neighbourhood.

In central Syria, a rebel offensive in Hama has stalled as regime forces rushed in Hizballah militants to defend the provincial capital.

Rebel forces lost Maarzaf during a counter-offensive by Hizballah and regime militias, with opposition forces launching a barrage of rockets at advancing forces.

In Jebal al-Akrad in northern Latakia, rebel group Ahrar al-Sham claimed to have shot down a Russian helicopter with heavy machine guns although Moscow has denied the claims.