Europe

Syrian troops, Turkey-backed forces surround IS stronghold

Syrian state media and an activist group say pro-government forces have advanced toward al-Bab, completing the encirclement of the Islamic State-held town, which had been partially besieged by Turkey-backed opposition forces.

Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters have been trying to seize the town for weeks. The Syrian government and the Turkish-backed forces are not coordinating their operations.

The Syrian government condemned the incursion when Turkish troops crossed the border in August. But since then Turkey has joined with Russia and Iran to guarantee a cease-fire between the government and Syrian rebels.

Syria's state news agency, SANA, said Monday that Syrian troops captured the Eweisheh hill, cutting al-Bab off from other areas under IS control. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the extremists were under siege.