BEIRUT — Syrian government forces and their allies on Saturday said they seized the town of Mayadeen, an Islamic State stronghold in the country’s east, in a major gain in the race for territories previously held by the militant group.
The announcement came as U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said they were in the “final” battle for control of Raqqa, the ISIS’ de facto capital and the symbol of the group’s reign of terror. However, officials with the Kurdish-led SDF said it could be hours or days before ISIS is uprooted from the city, to the north of Mayadeen.
Over the past months, Mayadeen had become a refugee for the IS leadership from Syria and Iraq as its self-proclaimed caliphate crumbled.
The town, on the western bank of the Euphrates River, was also a major node in the race for control of the oil-rich eastern Deir el-Zour province that straddles the border with Iraq.