Syrian army captures last IS-held town in Daraa

Li Jiayao

DAMASCUS, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Wednesday captured the Islamic State (IS)-held town of Qusair in the northwestern countryside of Daraa Province in southern Syria, state TV reported.

With the capture of Qusair, the entire Yarmouk basin area, which was under the IS control, has been recaptured by the army.

The army forces are now hunting down remnants of IS fighters who fled the battles, said the TV.

The military progress means that the declaration of victory in Daraa near the Jordanian border is expected to be made soon.

The army launched a wide-scale military campaign in Daraa on June 19, capturing areas either through military action or Russia-backed reconciliation deals, which allow rebels, who refuse to live under the government control, to head toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

The progress also means that the army forces have secured the southwestern part of the southern region, since the army is entering areas in nearby Quneitra Province under a Russia-backed deal struck with the rebels late last month.

As the birthplace of the Syrian war that erupted in 2011, Daraa is both symbolically and militarily significant for the Syrian army because the rebels have been using the Jordanian border to bring in arms and fighters throughout the Syrian war.

Quneitra is on the border with the Golan Heights.

In order to secure the entire southern region, the Syrian army has to clear pockets controlled by the IS in the eastern countryside of Sweida in southern Syria.



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