Battles rage between Syrian army, IS in Syrian desert

Intense battles are taking place between the Syrian army and the Islamic State (IS) in the desert region in the country’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour, a war monitor reported on Thursday.

The battles are taking place in the western countryside of Deir al-Zour coupled with shelling and targeting from both sides, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

This comes as a group of pro-government fighters went missing in the desert and communication with them got disconnected on Thursday, said the UK-based watchdog group.

Tens of military vehicles were sent into the desert in search of the missing group, it added.

Tens of Syrian soldiers and IS militants have been killed in months of battles in the Syrian desert in eastern Syria, according to the Observatory.

After losing key areas across the country, the IS now has a presence in the Syrian desert region in the remote eastern countryside of Homs province and Deir al-Zour province.