The Latest: Syrian forces drive IS from Golan frontier
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Syria’s civil war (all times local):
A Syrian war monitoring group says government forces have retaken the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after Islamic State-linked militants gave up their last pocket of territory.
President Bashar Assad’s forces were pushed away from the frontier in 2011, when a revolt broke out across Syria against his family’s four-decade rule. IS-linked militants moved in later.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants surrendered control of the Yarmouk Basin in southwestern Syria on Monday.
The government-affiliated Central Military Media outlet says Syria’s military has secured the length of the Golan Heights frontier. Israel seized the Golan Heights in a war with Syria in 1967.
The government now controls nearly the whole of southwest Syria after pushing into the Daraa and Quneitra provinces last month in a campaign against opposition forces and IS militants. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in the fighting.
Syrian government forces are pressing their offensive in the country’s south despite threats by the Islamic State group to kill civilians the militants hold captive there.
Syrian state TV and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, both reported government attacks on the Yarmouk basin region on Monday in southern Syria.
The extremists abducted around 18 people, mostly women, in a wave of attacks in the area last Wednesday. During the onslaught, IS militants attacked a major city and villages in Sweida province, killing dozens of people. Clashes with militiamen battling IS also left scores dead.
IS on Saturday aired a video of one of the women abducted in which she says they could be freed if the government releases IS detainees and halts the offensive.