Islamic State militants seize control of key town central Syria

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Militants of the Islamic State during a parade in Syria's Raqqa. File photo

ARA News

Damascus, Syria – On Thursday, militant fighters of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) took control of a key town in the central Syrian province of Homs following fierce clashes with regime army forces, activists reported.

IS militants seized control of Al-Qaryatain town in the southeastern countryside of Homs following two days of heavy clashes with Syrian army forces. 

“Fierce clashes broke out on Wednesday between Daesh (IS) and pro-Assad forces, ending with Daesh’s control over Al-Qaryatain town on Thursday afternoon,” Muhammad Shami, a local media activist, told ARA News in Homs.  

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed IS’ control of the key town, adding that 37 regime soldiers were killed, while 23 militants from IS were killed during the battle for Al-Qaryatain. 

“The town held strategic importance because of its location along a road linking the ancient city of Palmyra, which has been held by IS militants since May, with Qalamun region in Damascus province,” the observatory reported. 

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi

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