Syrian army retakes 16 villages from IS

Indo Asian News Service

Damascus, Feb 6 (IANS/EFE) The Syrian army has seized control of 16 villages and farms in the northeastern province of Hasakah from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, official news agency SANA reported Friday.

In a large-scale offensive against the militants which began Thursday, Syrian troops retook the villages of al-Zaraza, Shamasa, Tal Mohamed, al-Tiben, Khaled, Howedka, Akoula and nine farms in the area.

During the attacks, a large number of IS fighters were killed or wounded, SANA said, without providing a precise number.

In the same province, at least 13 militants were killed Thursday in airstrikes by the US-led international coalition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Friday.

The alliance launched 20 attacks in the Shadadi area against arms dumps and vehicle storage areas used by the IS to carry out its operations.

In a related development, Jordanian warplanes resumed hitting IS positions in Syria ending a 40-day hiatus in their bombing campaign Thursday.

The Jordanian Air Force had indefinitely suspended the raids on IS strongholds Dec 25, the day after pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh was captured when his F-16 fighter crashed while on a mission against the group.

Following failed negotiations to swap the lieutenant for a terrorist jailed in Jordan, he was burned alive by the IS terrorists, triggering a vow by Jordan to resume and increase its attacks on the group.