Beirut: Islamic State militants advanced to the outskirts of the northeastern Syrian city of al-Hasakah where they clashed with troops under President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Thursday.

Intense fighting continued until early Thursday, while at least 27 soldiers and 26 IS militants were killed, six of whom were suicide bombers.

According to SOHR, both sides exchanged artillery fire while military planes bombed IS positions, south of al-Hasakah and al-Shadadi, an IS stronghold in the city.

The extremists also launched an offensive in the northern province of Aleppo where they fought with Syrian rebel factions. 

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