Syria army pushes into IS bastion as Kurds advance from north

Syrian soldiers stand on a tank as they hold a position near the ancient city of Palmyra on May 5, 2016Russian-backed Syrian troops pushed into the Islamic State group’s bastion province Raqa Saturday, threatening to catch the jihadists in a pincer movement as US-backed Kurdish-led fighters advance from the north. The lightning advance from the southwest with Russian air support brought the army to within dozens of kilometres (miles) of the Euphrates Valley town of Tabqa, site of the country’s biggest dam, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said. The dam, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) upstream from the jihadists’ de facto Syrian capital Raqa city, is also the target of the Washington-backed offensive which Kurdish-led fighters launched late last month.

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