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Syrian troops capture areas in central province of Homs from IS under Russian airstrikes cover


BEIRUT — Opposition activists say Syrian troops have captured areas from the Islamic State group in the central province of Homs under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says troops backed by pro-government gunmen captured the village of Mheen and the nearby town of Hawareen on Sunday.

Homs -based opposition activist Bebars al-Talawy said Monday that government forces are now in control of Mheen and areas surrounding Hawareen. He added that troops haven't entered Hawareen yet, although they captured a mountain that overlooks the town.

Russia has conducted an air campaign in Syria since Sept. 30, and the airstrikes have sharply intensified in recent days.

Syrian troops have captured dozens of villages in northern, western and central Syria since the Russian airstrikes began.

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