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Syria Army Takes Last IS-Held Town In Homs -- Monitor

Workers collect the rubble of damaged buildings to be recycled and reused for reconstruction, under the supervision of UNDP) in the government-controlled district of Wadi al-Sayeh in Homs, Syria.

Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have seized the last Islamic State group stronghold in Syria's Homs province, a monitor says.

Al-Sukhna, some 70 kilometers northeast of the famed ancient city of Palmyra, is the last town on the road to the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where a government garrison has held out under IS siege since early 2015.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said government forces captured the town August 5 after heavy army artillery fire and air strikes by government ally Russia.

There was no official confirmation of the capture from Syria's government.

State news agency SANA said the army had surrounded the town from three sides.

Syria's army has been conducting a broad military campaign with Russian support since May to recapture the vast desert that separates the capital Damascus from Deir Ezzor and other towns along the Euphrates Valley.

Already defeated in its Iraqi bastion of Mosul, IS is facing multiple assaults in Syria.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces now control more than half of Raqqa -- the Islamic State's self-declared capital.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP