BEIRUT – The Syrian army expelled on Monday Islamic State fighters from eight towns in the northeastern province of Deir al-Zur, bordering Iraq, the defense ministry said.
Government troops and their allies recovered the city of al-Ashara as well as the villages of al-Ghariba, Dablan, Sbeikhan, Shikma, Duwair, Suwaydan and Muhqan, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site.
“(The Syrian forces) eliminated dozens of terrorists and seized large quantities of weapons and various munitions,” the note said.
Among the dead were several important figures, such as Abu Yusef al-Iraqi – known as the “emir of car bombs” – and Ibrahim Ramadan al-Sheikh, the IS commander in the Euphrates River basin.
The army also destroyed more than 50 vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns as well as 17 other vehicles being prepared for use as car bombs.
The Syrian military, supported by Russian airpower, has recovered so far more than half of Deir al-Zur from IS, including the region’s main cities.