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Syrian government forces defeat 'IS' along key supply road

After nearly two weeks of fighting, a key road near Aleppo has been retaken by Syrian government forces. The road, which links Aleppo to central provinces, had previously been held by militants from "Islamic State."

Reports carried on Syrian state news channels Wednesday said government troops had gained control over a major road in Aleppo province that had previously been held by militants from "Islamic State" (IS).

The claims were backed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in England.

"The clashes continue between the two sides 1 kilometer [0.6 miles] away from the road in an attempt by the regime to secure the road completely," a statement on the organization's website said.

The road links central Syria to the city of Aleppo (pictured above), and regaining control means government forces are connected to the territory they control in Aleppo. The gain in territory is a significant win for President Bashar Assad's regime, which started a widespread ground assault in coordination with Russian airstrikes that began on September 30.

Another key target for the Assad regime is the Kweires military airport east of Aleppo, which has been under siege by IS and other insurgents. So far, government troops have focused their efforts on areas around Aleppo rather than the city itself.

Before the civil war in Syria broke out in 2011, Aleppo was the country's most populous city. Now, control of the city is divided among government troops and rebel fighters, with IS controlling territory in the countryside around the city.

mz/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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