Syria war: Government attacks IS enclave in south-west

Syrian government and Russian forces are reportedly attacking an enclave held by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in south-western Syria.

Activists and a monitoring group said aircraft were bombing the Yarmouk Basin area, which borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The militants are said to have counter-attacked, targeting nearby villages.

The fighting comes after the government recaptured most of the surrounding province of Deraa from rebel factions.

Rebel commanders agreed on Friday to surrender their heavy weapons and begin handing over towns as part of a Russian-brokered agreement.

In return, the Russian military is believed to have guaranteed the safe return of the 320,000 civilians who fled their homes after the government’s offensive began on 19 June, as well as the evacuation to rebel-held parts of north-western Syria for people who wish to leave.

An IS-affiliated group, the Khalid Ibn al-Walid Army, has controlled the south-western corner of Deraa province since 2014, when jihadists overran vast swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and proclaimed the establishment of a “caliphate”.

IS was not covered by last week’s ceasefire deal and on Wednesday its positions in the Yarmouk Basin was subjected to air strikes and artillery fire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a…

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