Activists and state media: Syrian troops wrest control of key northern road from Islamic State

Syria's state news agency and activists say government troops have wrested control from Islamic State militants of a major road linking the contested northern province of Aleppo with the country's central provinces.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory said government troops on Wednesday routed IS extremists from the Khanasser-Atharayya road, southeast of the city of Aleppo, after nearly two weeks of fighting.

The road is the government's lifeline to areas it controls in Aleppo province.

The state news agency SANA says residents can begin returning to their homes along the road on Thursday.

If the government manages to hold the road, it would be one of the most strategic wins since President Bashar Assad's forces launched a wide ground offensive boosted by Russian airstrikes that began on Sept. 30.