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Syrian troops reach edge of province where IS is based

  • Smoke rises after an airstrike by U.S.-led coalition warplanes as Iraqi security forces advance towards Shuhada neighborhood of Fallujah, Iraq, Friday, June 3, 2016, during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control the city.  The initial advance on the symbolically important town of Fallujah has been slow with Iraqi forces facing fierce resistance on the outskirts from well-entrenched militants.  (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Smoke rises after an airstrike by U.S.-led coalition warplanes as Iraqi security forces advance towards Shuhada neighborhood of Fallujah, Iraq, Friday, June 3, 2016, during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control the city. The initial advance on the symbolically important town of Fallujah has been slow with Iraqi forces facing fierce resistance on the outskirts from well-entrenched militants. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Displaced Iraqi families arrive to an Iraqi army camp after fleeing their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group, outside Fallujah, Iraq, Saturday, June 4, 2016. The Iraqi army is attempting to retake the western city. (AP Photo)

    Displaced Iraqi families arrive to an Iraqi army camp after fleeing their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group, outside Fallujah, Iraq, Saturday, June 4, 2016. The Iraqi army is attempting to retake the western city. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian troops have reached the edge of the northern province of Raqqa, home to the de facto capital of the Islamic State group's self-styled caliphate.

The government has had no presence in Raqqa since August 2014, when IS captured the Tabqa air base and killed scores of captured government soldiers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syrian troops reached the "administrative border" of Raqqa province under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

The media arm of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, which is fighting alongside government forces, says Syrian troops reached the border of Raqqa province Saturday after advancing about six kilometers (4 miles) in the past hours.

Syrian troops launched an offensive toward the province on Wednesday.

IS is based in the provincial capital, also called Raqqa.