SANA: Syria, Iraq discuss direct cooperation against Islamic State

Syria's conflict has killed more than 320,000 people and displaced millions Mohamad ABAZEED

"And that is a coalition element made up of more than just USA troops, and so we will defend ourselves (if) people take aggressive steps against us". It was unclear if others had also been killed the same way or died in fighting.

Regime forces and their allies are advancing on the town of Makanah.

Syria's conflict, now in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

An increasingly visible USA role in Syria has also raised the possibilities of friction with the various forces on the ground.

The U.S. carried out air strikes against Syrian forces, May 18. USA troops have sent patrols in the area to act as a buffer between Turkish troops and the Kurdish fighters. The offensives saw some fighting, but ISIS mostly overran the areas with little resistance, and killed large numbers of civilians.

But last month, it launched a barrage of missiles at Syria s Shayrat airbase, which it said was the launchpad for an alleged chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians. They said a tank and a bulldozer were also hit. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. The Observatory also said clashes were still ongoing in the area.

An Iraqi envoy met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Thursday to explore direct military cooperation against Islamic State (IS) militants, Syrian state media said.

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"They were brought with all forms of deformations but majority appear to have died as a result of gunfire", he told the AP news agency.

The militant group has lost large swathes of territory recently in Syria after expanding rapidly in 2014 and 2015, and is under assault from a US-backed coalition of Arab and Kurdish militias as well as by the Syrian army, backed by Russian Federation.

IS is on the defensive across most of the territory it still holds in Syria, with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters pressing towards its most important bastion, Raqa in the north. Many had been beheaded or had missing limbs and reports say that bricks were used to kill children.

Army troops and National Defence Forces reservists drove the attackers from the village and others targeted by Isis in its latest bid to cut the main supply road to Aleppo. He added that most appeared to have died as a result of gunfire.

Troops and allied militiamen retook the Hama province villages of Aqareb and Al-Mabujeh a day after the jihadist assault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It identified residents as members of Assad's Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam.

Isis, meanwhile, claimed via its news channel Amaq it had killed 100 government troops and captured two villages in Thursday's violence.

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