Syrian army liberates last ISIS stronghold in Homs province (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)
On Sunday, the Syrian army further “tightened the noose on ISIS terrorists in al-Sukhnah” in a swift but intense operation, subsequently securing the town over the weekend, Syria's SANA news agency reports.
“Army units targeted with accurate strikes the remaining positions of the terrorists, who have fled deep into al-Badia (desert),” a military source told SANA, adding that most IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) leaders in the strategic town had been killed and terrorist equipment destroyed.
Earlier Saturday, Almasdar news and SANA reported that the Syrian Army entered the town in Homs province from three different directions, forcing the jihadists to retreat. After an intense battle, the town was liberated.
“SAA ordinance disposal teams have started work on clearing al-Sukhnah of mines and improvised explosive devices (IED),” a military source told Almasdar.
RT’s Ruptly video agency has obtained exclusive video from al-Sukhnah after its liberation. The footage shows the widespread destruction and scattered munition left from Islamic State fighters.
Capturing the town of al-Sukhnah is the latest victory of the Syrian army against IS. The town lies about 50km from the ancient city of Palmyra and about the same distance from Deir Ezzor province, one of the last remaining patches under IS control.
In addition to making advances against the terrorists in Homs province, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air force, also advanced in the Hama province and in areas of Raqqa province, where US-led coalition is conducting its own operation near the IS stronghold.
In another development, the Syrian government briefly shifted focus from Syria's dusty battlefields to the marble halls of the United Nations in New York, once again denouncing the coalition – which has intervened in Syria without UN or Damascus’ approval – for breaching international law.
In correspondence to the UN, Damascus accused the US-led coalition of new atrocities against civilians, charging that it attacked a hospital in Raqqa and has discharged “internationally banned white phosphorus munitions” against the Syrian people.
On Saturday alone, at least 43 civilians were allegedly killed and dozens more injured after airstrikes hit residential neighborhoods in Raqqa city, SANA reported, claiming that many of the victims were women and children.
The US-led coalition has denied bombing the hospital in Raqqa, but admitted in a statement to RT that they indeed use white phosphorus to assists “partner forces” on the ground, while taking “all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of incidental injury to non-combatants and damage to civilian structures.”
In its latest assessment of civilian casualties from airstrikes in Iraq and Syria released earlier this week, the US-led coalition claimed 624 people were "unintentionally killed" since the start of the campaign against IS in the region.
However, the UK-based Airwars group which monitors airstrikes and civilian casualties in Iraq, Libya and Syria has contradicted this claim, and says more than 4,350 civilians have been killed in US-led military operations since June 2014.