Syria troops advance against ISIS in Homs province
The recapture of Maheen comes after it was overrun by ISIS on Nov. 1
The Syrian army recaptured a town and village in the central province of Homs from ISIS on Monday, state media and a monitoring group said.
“The army in cooperation with popular defence groups (pro-regime militias) took control of Maheen and Hawareen in the southeast of Homs province after inflicting heavy losses on Daesh,” state television said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the army’s advance, which it said had been backed by Russian warplanes and military helicopters.
The recapture of Maheen comes after it was overrun by ISIS on Nov. 1.
Previously, a ceasefire had been in force under which rebel factions remained inside the town but government forces manned checkpoints around it.
ISIS forces launched their assault on Maheen from neighboring Al-Qaryatain, which the group captured earlier this year, kidnapping hundreds of civilians and destroying ancient Christian sites.
The army advance now puts Al-Qaryatain, which is just 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Maheen, in their sights.
Elsewhere in Homs province, the Observatory said government forces were advancing on the outskirts of the ancient city of Palmyra, which ISIS captured in May.
Since seizing the famed city, ISIS has destroyed many of its UNESCO World Heritage sites, including ancient temples, drawing international condemnation.
The latest advances come nearly two months into a Russian air campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow says its air strikes target ISIS and other “terrorists,” but rebels and their backers say moderate and Islamist opposition fighters have borne the brunt of them.
Russia, France hit ISIS’s bastion in SyriaPutin ordered the Russian navy in the Mediterranean to establish contact with its French counterparts and work together ‘as allies’ against ISIS Middle East
Turkish nationalists direct anti-Russia ire at wrong consulateDozens of Turkish nationalists staged an angry protest in Istanbul against Russia’s air campaign in Syria inadvertently on the wrong consulate World News
Assad: Syria troops advancing thanks to Russia strikesAssad also said he favored new peace talks to be hosted in Moscow Middle East
Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss war on Syria militants with PutinJordan had reached an agreement with Moscow that Russia does not target Western backed rebels in Syria Middle East
Iraq suspends northern flights due to Russia’s Syria strikesThe decision was made to ‘protect passengers and because of the crossing of cruise missiles and bombers’ Middle East
Kremlin hails Iran, Russia ‘unity’ on Syria after Putin’s visit to TehranMoscow and Tehran have been the key backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout Syria's civil war Middle East