Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces take positions in northern province of Raqqa, Syria May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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The Syrian army pushed into Raqqa province, home to the de facto capital of ISIS, after a major Russian-backed offensive against the militants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday.The offensive is the third big assault on the self-proclaimed caliphate in recent days after Iraqi forces attempted to storm Fallujah in central Syria and a Syrian militia advanced with U.S. support towards Manbij in the north near the Turkish border. Friday's assault saw the army reach the edge of Syria's Raqqa province after heavy Russian airstrikes hit ISIS-held territory in eastern areas of neighboring Hama province.Should the army be able to reach the area where the rebels are also fighting ISIS, that would leave the ultra hard line group hemmed in, albeit by forces highly unlikely to work together as they are on opposing sides in the multi-faceted conflict.More than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring centre in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.
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