US, Allies launching operations to liberate ISIS strongholds in Syria

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U.S-backed Kurdish forces in Syria say they are resuming their campaign against Islamic State militants who still control areas near the border with Iraq.

"We have rearranged our ranks", said Lilwa al-Abdallah, spokeswoman for the offensive in oil-rich Deir al-Zor province.

"The areas liberated from IS have cost us the pure blood of our martyrs, and we will not relinquish them easily", she added.

Britain has carried out more than 1,600 air strikes in Iraq and Syria - and United Kingdom forces have trained 60,000 members of the Iraqi Security Force, Mr Williamson said. It will be supported by the US -led coalition.

"The fight will be hard, but we and our partners will prevail", - said in a statement. "We will defend United States, coalition and partner forces if attacked". Syria's government captured at least two villages from USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces east of the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq.

The province is considered strategic because of its proximity to the Iraqi border and its oil fields.

The US-led coalition is backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance that has been fighting ISIS in eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq.

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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, released Syrian women and kids who were held with their families for years by al-Qaida-linked fighters, look through a bus window upon their arrival at a government-controlled checkpoint, near Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

A USA airstrike in February reportedly killed at least 100 Russian mercenaries after a surprise assault on a US -held base in the province. Turkish forces captured Afrin in March.

Air strikes killed at least 23 civilians, including 10 children, in a village held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in northeastern Syria on Tuesday (May 1), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said. Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

It was not immediately clear whether the US -led coalition or Iraqi forces were behind the strike.

Muhammad said his forces would coordinate with the Iraqi army to keep the pressure on the Iraqi side and ensure a quick victory.

The SDF stripped IS of their de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria late a year ago while the Syrian government recaptured large swaths of territory from IS in Deir al-Zour.

Operations against ISIS in the Middle Eastern River Valley began earlier this year after Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in Afrin, Syria.

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