Syrian army declares 2-day combat cessation in southern city


Al-Waleed is located close to Tanf - another strategic border crossing located on the main highway between Syria and Iraq - where US forces have been assisting Syrian rebels fighting to recapture territory on their side of the border from IS.US troops have been stationed at Tanf since previous year, effectively blocking Iranian-backed forces that support Syrian President Bashar Assad from receiving heavy weapons from Iran via the Baghdad-Damascus highway.

The Iraqi military says it has captured the al-Waleed border crossing with Syria from the Islamic State group. This sector houses the strategically important Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian triangle, where the borders of the three states cross.

The officer, who wasn't named, said that all kinds of ground and air weapons have been used during the military operation against IS in the Syrian desert. The agreement covers four zones in Syria where the rebels are fighting pro-government forces.

He said the major battle against IS will be in Deir al-Zour.

US forces have been based at Tanf since past year, in effect preventing Iranian-backed forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from receiving heavy weaponry from Iran by using the main highway between Iraq and Syria.

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However, the Syrian army skirted around and reached to a border point north of Tanf.

Aircraft from the USA -led coalition and the Iraqi air force took part in the operation, the statement said. Saturday's announcement came amid ongoing talk in neighboring Jordan to calm the situation in southern Syria. The forces, however, regrouped afterward and continued their advance.

A Syrian military source told Xinhua on Sunday that the Syrian forces are advancing in the western countryside of Raqqa against IS.

In the northern city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State group, a USA -backed Syrian force entered new neighborhoods east and west of the city adding that they were able to free dozens of civilians who were trapped in the fighting.

Still, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group said the operation of the SDF against Raqqa is witnessing some slowdowns as the SDF has reached heavily-fortified IS strongholds in Raqqa.