ISIL forces in al-Bab surrounded by Syrian, Turkish troops

Syrian government forces advanced on the northern Islamic State-held city of al-Bab on Monday, cutting off the last supply route that connects it to militant strongholds further east towards Iraq, a monitor said.

Islamic State militants in the area are now effectively surrounded by the army from the south and by Turkish-backed rebels from the north, as Damascus and Ankara race to capture the largest Islamic State stronghold in Aleppo province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said the army and allied militia made gains southeast of al-Bab overnight, and fought the militants there on Monday.

Backed by air strikes, they severed a road that links the city to other Islamic State-held territory in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces, it said.

A military commander in the alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said Islamic State was encircled.

"There is one narrow passage left out of al-Bab," the commander said. Government forces now had most of it "within close firing range".
ISIL is under pressure in both Iraq and Syria and there is a threat of Kurdish forces attacking the caliphate's capitol Raqqa.  What ISIL may have going for it is that the Syrian and Turkish forces could also soon be in conflict too.


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