BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:57 P.M.) – Three towns and villages in Aleppo province’s southern countryside have been cleared of militant groups following a sweeping operation by Syrian pro-government forces east of the Abu Duhur military airport that commenced on Sunday morning.

Military-affiliated sources report that the settlements of Rasm al-Harmal, Duwayr al-Hawtah and Khirbat al-Fajr have been restored to the control of the Damascus government after the Syrian Army and allied militias pushed rebel fighters to withdraw from them under the very real threat of encirclement.

By this advance army-led forces have taken control of the last towns and villages located directly east of the Abu Duhur airbase and de facto solidified the encirclement of Islamic State militants within a 1,200 square kilometer semi-desert territorial area spanning northeast Hama, southeast Idlib and southwest Aleppo.

The strengthening of the siege against ISIS forces across northwest Syria by pro-government forces comes at the same time they are also attacking the terrorist group’s bastion in the region from its southern axis, so far having seized two towns.

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