Syria's army and its allies have encircled a Daesh terror group pocket in central Syria after a series of advances in the desert region, state media, a Hizbollah military media unit and a war monitor said on Friday.
President Bashar Assad's military has advanced against Daesh along two prongs towards Deir Al Zor province this year, leaving a large extremist salient stretching back west between them.
Its forces have now cut off part of that salient with a pincer movement, enclosing a large Daesh enclave around the village of Uqairabat, the state news agency SANA reported.
The military media unit run by Hizbollah, a well-armed Lebanese ally of Assad in his more than six-year-old war with rebels and militants, said army units pushing southwards from Ithriya and northwards from Jebel Shaer had joined up.
Uqairabat is 37km east of the town of Al Salamiya, near the only road through government territory to Aleppo, a route that has sometimes been closed because of fighting. Driving Daesh militants out of that pocket would reduce pressure on the road.
The army has also made advances further east in recent days that could cut off more of the Daesh salient, according to the war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Daesh is on the back foot in Syria, where Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led coalition have captured swathes of its territory in the north and are assaulting its former Syrian "capital" of Raqqa.
The extremist group is now falling back deeper into the Euphrates Valley region of eastern Syria.
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