The Syrian army and its allies seized an oil pumping station in eastern Syria from Islamic State, paving the way for an advance towards the jihadists’ last remaining Syrian stronghold, a Hezbollah-run news service reported on Thursday.
The “T2” pumping station is “considered a launch pad for the army and its allies to advance towards the town of Albu Kamal … which is considered the last remaining stronghold of the Daesh organisation in Syria”, the report said.
Albu Kamal is located in Deir al-Zor province at the Syrian border with Iraq, just over the frontier from the Iraqi town of al-Qaim. Iraq declared on Thursday the start of an offensive to capture al-Qaim and Rawa, the last patch of Iraqi territory still in IS hands.
Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate” has crumbled this year with the fall of the Syrian city of Raqqa and the Iraqi city of Mosul. In Syria, the group is now mostly confined to a shrinking strip of territory in Deir al-Zor province.
The US-led coalition against Islamic State is waging a separate campaign against the group in Deir al-Zor, focused on areas to the east of the Euphrates River which bisects the province. Albu Kamal is located on the western bank of the river.