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Air strikes, clashes hit IS pocket in south Syria

July 12, 2018 00:00:00

BEIRUT, July 11 (AFP): Russian air strikes and fierce clashes on Wednesday rocked a sliver of territory in southwestern Syria held by the Islamic State group, a war monitor said.

Much of the southern province of Daraa had been quiet since Friday, when a ceasefire between rebels and Syria's regime ended a nearly three-week government assault.

But a local branch of IS, known as Jaish Khaled bin Walid and based in a small area in Daraa's western countryside, was not included in the deal.

Early Wednesday, Russian warplanes began pounding the IS-controlled town of Saham al-Golan, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Russian air strikes hit Saham al-Golan this morning, as dozens of shells and artillery fire hit the town," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

In retaliation, IS launched an attack southwards on Heet, a rebel-held town that recently agreed to return to regime control.

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