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>> Moving towards the Raqqa province boundary, the Syrian army advances on what's home to the de facto capital of Islamic State. The move comes after a major Russian-backed offensive against the militants. It's another major assault on the self-proclaimed caliphate in recent days following Iraq's battle to win back Fallujah.
The recent offenses of some of the most aggressive campaigns against IS in two years since it declared its aim to rule over all Muslims from parts of Iraq and Syria. The army was making its advances from eastern Hama Province. State and media reporting it had made territorial gains and inflicted heavy casualties on the militants.
The army advance means it's now said to be close to 40 kilometers from an area where US-backed rebels were also waging in offensive. Should the army reach the area where the rebels are also fighting Islamic state, that would lead the ultra hard line group hemmed in. Or be it both forces highly unlikely to work together.