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Almost 30 dead as Syria government forces clash with Islamic State

Beirut: Clashes on Tuesday in the Syrian desert between Russia-backed regime forces and Islamic State group jihadists have killed almost 30 fighters, a Britain-based war monitor said. Battles have been ongoing in Syria’s vast Badia desert since the start of the month, with regime forces supported by Russian aircraft. On Tuesday, clashes and Russian air strikes killed 13 jihadists, while 16 regime fighters died in fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The battles centred around Ithriya, in Hama province, and further east, near where the provincial borders of Hama, Aleppo and Raqa meet. Mobile IS units have remained active in the Syrian desert since the jihadists lost the last shred of their self-proclaimed caliphate in March last year. Intermittent fighting, mostly in the Badia, has killed more than 900 regime fighters and 140 allied Iran-backed combatants since March. (AFP)

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