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19 Syrian troops killed fighting IS

 Damascus, May 5: At least 19 Syrian government forces were killed fighting the Islamic State over the past 24 hours in an attempt to capture the last IS-held enclaves in the southern outskirts of Damascus, a Britain-based war monitor reported on Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting had been taking place since Friday around the IS-controlled Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk and in the adjacent neighbourhoods of al-Hajar al-Aswad and al-Tadamon. The war monitor, cited by EFE, claimed that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had managed to seize the majority of the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood, but IS militants counterattacked and pushed them back. The fighting, which is still ongoing, was accompanied by bombings from warplanes and artillery against the IS positions. (IANS)