Syria Army Secures Al-Sukhna in Homs (+Video, Photos)

Syria Army Secures Al-Sukhna in Homs (+Video, Photos)

The town lies some 50 km (30 miles) northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, which was captured by the army in March.

"On August 13, 2017, in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and militia west of the Homs Province, Es Sukhne is fully liberated from militants of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia - TASS)", the ministry said.

The radicals have lost swathes of Syrian territory to separate campaigns being waged by government forces backed by Russian Federation and Iran, and by the US-backed Syrian Democratic (SDF) Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia.

"The liberation of As-Sukhnah from Daesh terrorists opens new opportunities for the Syrian government forces to launch an offensive and deblock the city of Deir ez-Zor".

Two minibuses, some white helmets and walkie-talkies were stolen, so it was not clear whether the motive for the attack was political or criminal.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the seven volunteers had all been killed by bullets to the head.

The White Helmets organization was formed in 2013, working to rescue civilians in rebel-held areas in Syria.

Russian Federation is a close ally of the Syrian regime and has been providing air support for Syrian forces since 2015. The shift happened after their main rival, moderate Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, evacuated from several key points in the area.