Militants of the Islamic State monitoring a Syrian army base near Homs. File photo
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DAMASCUS – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) seized Sunday the key Syrian town of Maheen in southwestern Homs province, local sources reported.
Speaking to ARA News in Homs, media activist Khaled Homsi said that ISIS stormed the key town of Maheen, central Syria, and were able to kill at least 50 pro-regime troops.
“After taking control of Maheen, ISIS is now only 20 km far from the main road that connects the Syrian capital Damascus to the northern cities including Homs,” he added.
The extremist group confirmed in a statement on Sunday that its fighters seized “a strategic town linking south Syria with its north”.
Subsequent to taking over the historic city of Palmyra earlier this year, ISIS has been expanding its control over key areas in Homs province, including the key Christian village of Qaryatain.
In August, the militant group abducted about 220 civilians, including at least 60 Christians, after seizing the key town al-Qaryatain in the countryside of Homs, according to local activists.
Sadad, another nearby town, witnessed clashes between ISIS militants and pro-regime forces in the past 24 hours.
In the meantime, the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels, including the key Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), announced the battle for liberating the southern countryside of Hasakah, northeastern Syria.
This comes after the U.S. decided to send some 50 American special forces to back the rebels in the fighting against ISIS on the ground.
A new alliance of the Kurdish YPG forces and Syrian Arab rebel groups has been formed recently under the banner “Syrian Democratic Forces”, which released a statement on Saturday announcing the anti-ISIS battle for Hasakah.
Over the past few months, Syrian Kurds have been coordinating with the U.S.-led coalition forces in the fight against ISIS, and have lately gained Washington’s trust, which described them as the most effective partner on the ground against ISIS in Syria.
“Tens of thousands of fighters are prepared for this (anti-ISIS) fight, including the key Kurdish forces in northern Syria,” a local source told ARA News.
Reporting by: Resho Issa
Source: ARA News