Syrian regime oust IS from border town

Days of clashes culminate in regime forces regaining control of whole of town of Albu Kamal near Iraqi border.

DAMASCUS - Syria regime forces ousted the Islamic State group from a town near the border with Iraq on Monday after days of clashes to end a deadly incursion there, a monitor said.

On Friday, the jihadists used at least 10 suicide bombers in their offensive on Albu Kamal, quickly overrunning several of its neighbourhoods, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It was the biggest attack on the town in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor since the jihadist group lost it to regime forces in November 2017, the Britain-based monitor said.

On Monday, "regime forces and their allies regained control of the whole town of Albu Kamal after expelling IS from its northern and northwestern parts," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

After loyalist forces tried to surround them, the jihadists fled back into Syria's vast Badiya desert, which stretches from the country's centre to the border with Iraq, he said.

Violent clashes since Friday have killed at least 48 regime forces and allied fighters, as well as 32 jihadists including the 10 suicide bombers who led the initial raid.

IS has ramped up its attacks on fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the extremist group withdrew from its last bastion in the capital last month.

The jihadists were bussed out of the southern suburb of Yarmuk to parts of the Badiya desert under a secretive evacuation deal with the regime.

IS has lost much of the "caliphate" it declared in 2014 in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, but still holds slithers of land in the desert and east of the country.

In eastern Syria, regime forces hold land west of the Euphrates River.

A Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by the US-led coalition, meanwhile, has been fighting extremists in a tiny pocket on its eastern banks and another to the north in the northwestern province of Hassakeh.