Syrian army & allies capture last major ISIS held town in Syria

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IS overran vast areas of both Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014, establishing a "caliphate".

REUTERS/Sabratha municipality media office/HandoutA view shows damage at the scene after an airstrike by US warplanes against Islamic State in Sabratha, Libya, in this February 19, 2016 handout picture.

"The advance towards Albu Kamal came after army troops and their allies met up with Iraqi forces at the border between the two countries", SANA said.

In Syria, the end of major operations against Islamic State may only prefigure a new phase of the war, as the rival forces which have seized territory from the jihadists square off.

The shift is allowing the U.S.to redirect some of its efforts to Afghanistan to help that nation's government battle Taliban fighters.

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In recent weeks, an estimated 120,000 people have been displaced from Albu Kamal alone, said Linda Tom from the United Nations' humanitarian affairs coordination office in Damascus.

This month, the Syrian army captured the capital city of Deir al-Zour.

In areas controlled by the SDF in northern Syria, Kurdish-led groups have established autonomy, announcing elections and setting internal policies. Washington has not spelled out how its military support for the SDF would evolve after Islamic State's defeat.

It said the fighting would pave the way for Syrian troops to regain full control of the border town, just hours after they and pro-regime fighters surrounded IS fighters there. Scattered villages near al-Qaim, close to Albu Kamal, are still under militant control in an area called Rummana.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi gave instructions to his country's armed forces on Tuesday to deal with any terrorist attack, even if it arises from within Syria, Anadolu has reported.

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