Syria: Syrian army advances south toward rebel-held area
The Syrian army said it had retaken a swathe of territory from Islamic State in southern Syria on Thursday in a rapid advance near areas held by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels at the border with Jordan and Iraq.
The Syrian government said earlier in May that it was a priority to recapture the sparsely populated region known as the Badia where U.S.-backed Syrian rebels seized a vast expanse of territory from Islamic State in March.
Tensions flared in the southern region last week when the U.S.-led coalition mounted an air strike against pro-government forces that U.S. officials said posed a threat to U.S. and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters in the area. Washington described the forces as Iranian-directed.
The Syrian army on Thursday declared the capture of areas to the south of Palmyra and to the east of Qaryatayn in southeastern Homs province. State TV showed footage of military vehicles including tanks driving through a desert landscape.