Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vows to defeat Islamic State as his troops advance against the militants in two crucial provinces. Mana Rabiee reports.
The battle against Islamic State in Syria is happening here… … in Raqqa, the province that houses their de facto capital. It's the first time Syrian government troops have entered the province since 2014. Backed buy Russian airpower, President Bashar al-Assad is vowing to crush the group he calls terrorists. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "And so I reassure you that our war against terrorism continues - not because we love war, for they imposed the war on us - but (because) the shedding of blood will not end until terrorism is uprooted from wherever it may be." A separate, simultaneous campaign against IS in Syria, is also being prosecuted in Aleppo province, where a coalition of militias back by the United States has reportedly captured more territory from the militants near the city of Manbij. Both offensives got underway last week. Combined with Iraq's efforts to destroty Islamic State in Falluja, these simultaneous assaults amount to the greatest pressure on Islamic State in two years … ever since it first declared its Muslim caliphate.