IS militants evacuate last stronghold in Syria to government

BEIRUT (AP) – A Syrian war monitor says Islamic State militants have withdrawn from their last stronghold following a government offensive.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces and allied troops, including Iraqi fighters, are combing Boukamal, a strategic town on the border with Iraq, on Thursday after IS militants withdrew.

Syrian pro-government media say Syrian troops had clashed with remnants of IS militants in the town after they entered it late Wednesday. On Thursday, they declared the town totally free of the militants.

The fall of Boukamal means remaining IS militants are currently holed up in small towns and villages along the border with Iraq and in the Syrian desert.

This frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, shows Syrian pro-government troops taking up positions during fighting with insurgents on the Iraq-Syria border. – AP