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Friday November 24th, 2017 9:56AM

The Latest: Iraqi forces battling IS reach Syrian border

By The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria whether government forces have liberated the eastern city of Deir el-Zour from the Islamic State group (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

An Iraqi officer says troops battling the Islamic State group in Iraq's far west have reached the border with Syria as they fight IS near the militants near the border town of Qaim.

Maj. Bassam Fawaz with the federal police says that Iraqi forces reached the border on Friday morning as they continue to close in on the last remaining pocket of militant-held territory in Iraq's Anbar province.

The joint operations command says Iraqi forces began pushing into the western neighborhoods of Qaim and that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pledged the battle will be finished within days.

Qaim, located about 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, west of Baghdad lies along a border crossing with Syria in the Euphrates River Valley. It has been used by IS to ferry fighters and supplies between the two countries when the militants' territorial hold included nearly a third of both Iraqi and Syrian territory.

___

11:45 a.m.

Syria's state-run news agency says at least six people were killed and 21 were wounded in a suicide bombing that hit a government-held town in the southern province of Quneitra.

SANA says Friday's bombing targeted the outskirts of the town of Hadar in the northern countryside of Quneitra, near the Israel-occupied Golan Heights. It gave no further details.

Opposition activists reported that a suicide car bomb targeted a position of Syrian soldiers in that area amid clashes between government forces and rebels there.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at seven and said 23 people were wounded. It also reported heavy clashes between the two sides in the area.

___

10 a.m.

Syrian state media say the army has liberated the eastern city of Deir el-Zour from the Islamic State group.

Friday's report says the military is now in full control of the long contested city.

Syrian government forces and their pro-government allies first broke the militant group's siege of their part of the city in September and have been advancing against IS positions since then.

Deir el-Zour had been divided into a government-held and an IS-held part for nearly three years.

The development is the latest significant defeat for IS as the militant group sees its self-proclaimed "caliphate" crumble and lose almost all urban strongholds.

The Syrian army and Kurdish-led forces backed by the U.S. are now racing to take the rest of the oil-rich eastern province.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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