KHANASER , Syria, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The Syrian army took control of the strategic village of al-Muqayrat in Aleppo province on Friday after an intense battle with Islamic State forces.
With southeastern Aleppo province slowly coming under Syrian control, and the liberation of al-Muqayrat, troops are now concentrating on the city of Hawaz, seized by IS earlier in the week. The Syrian army is slowly taking back the entire Islamic State-controlled Aleppo province, military sources said Friday.
The army, with help from Liwaa Al-Quds, or the Jerusalem Brigade; the Republican Guard; and the National Defense Forces, or NDF, captured the city of Khanaser, the nearby Khanaser Plains and the village of al-Muqayrat, southeast of Aleppo, after intense battles.
The Islamic State -- also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL -- pulled back its forces after heavy offensive firepower and assaults, and with considerable loss of life, the Iranian FARS news agency reported Friday. The news agency identified some IS casualties as foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Turkey, Lebanon, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in Idlib province, the Syrian Army's Republican Guard also took control of the village of Ayn al-Bayda on Friday after months-long battles with the al-Nusra Front and other militant groups.