Syrian regime fighters have advanced into the Islamic State group-held Raqqa province after a series of victories against the jihadi force.
Troops and militias loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad have won a rare victory for regime forces against IS, after suffering setbacks in Homs province in recent weeks.
Russian air raids - which appear to be in coordination with the US - pounded IS positions allowing regime fighters to advance.
"Regime troops backed by Russian air strikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.I do not see Russian airstrikes aiding SAA and their supporting militias as cooperative with the US.
Advances have also been made towards the Tabqa Dam, which lies around 25 miles upstream from Raqqa city.Gee, how many times has the Tabqa Dam been mentioned here?
It appears that the regime and US-backed forces both have this in their sights, which IS won from Damascus in 2014, leading to the mass killing of government soldiers.
Meanwhile US-led coalition war planes are continuing to target IS forces in Iraq and Syria, aiding an Iraqi army offensive in Fallujah.
The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has begun launching airstrikes against the Islamic State group from the Mediterranean Sea.
This means that the US Navy can now target its Middle East adverseries from two fronts - from the Mediterranean and more routinely from carriers in the Persian Gulf.
Here are additional links regarding the moves by both the NATO backed Kurdish militias: PKK/YPG/PUK ( whom I consider to be terrorists against Syria, Iraq and Turkey) and SAA and their loyalist militias both moving on Raqua in a race for the dam.
Backed by Russian air-power, the Syrian troops are now 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the provincial capital, the city of Raqqa, and closing in on Tabqa, which is home to the country's largest dam.
Raqqa lies just 30 miles downstream from the dam. Liberating the city from IS control is also one of the goals of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Force, or SDF. The SDF's other main goal is to seal off the Syrian border with Turkey in order to prevent militants, supplies and food from reaching IS.