Syrian Government Forces Regain Road From IS

BEIRUT (Reuters) -
Residents stand near a damaged car in the town of Darat Izza, province of Aleppo, Syria February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
Residents stand near a damaged car in the town of Darat Izza, province of Aleppo, Syria, Sunday. (Reuters/Ammar Abdullah)

Syrian government forces regained control of a key road to the northern city of Aleppo after making advances against Islamic State terrorists on Monday, a monitoring group and state television reported.

Battles continued between government forces and the jihadist group in the area in the southeast of Aleppo province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Government forces had been relying on the route to reach Aleppo because terrorists control the main highway to the city further west.

Islamic State seized the town of Khanaser, which lies on the route 50 km (30 miles) southeast of Aleppo city, last week but government forces regained it two days later.

State media said on Monday further advances allowed government forces to regain control of the road, and they were now clearing mines. The government advances in Aleppo province, helped by Russian air strikes and allied fighters from Iran and Lebanese Hizbullah, come on the third day of a country-wide cessation of hostilities that excludes Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front terror groups.