Syrian Army Recaptures Town in Aleppo Province From IS

BEIRUT (AP) -
A Syrian national flag waves as heavy fog envelops the capital city of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spoke Wednesday with key players in the Syrian conflict including President Assad, ahead of a U.S.-Russia-engineered cease-fire, as the opposition and its backers voiced concerns that the proposed truce due to begin later this week would benefit the Syrian government. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A Syrian national flag waves as heavy fog envelops the capital city of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Syria’s state-run news agency and an opposition monitoring group say government troops have recaptured a town in Aleppo province from Islamic State terrorists.

The victory is key for Syria’s military access to the provincial capital, Aleppo city.

SANA says the army took the town of Khanaser on Thursday, after three days of heavy battles with the terrorist group.

The report says heavy fighting was ongoing to reopen the road to Aleppo city. IS seized Khanaser and the surrounding hills on Tuesday, cutting the government’s main land route to the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition monitoring group, says the army and pro-government Shiite militias were backed by Russian air strikes in the push on Khanaser.

The advance comes ahead of a cease-fire meant to start on midnight Friday.