ISIS communication lines between Syria and Iraq smashed: Coalition

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have cut critical communication and supply lines used by the extremists between Syria and Iraq after a two-week operation, the United States-led coalition said on Tuesday.

Backed by air strikes, the forces "overcame (ISIS) resistance" in north-eastern Syria near the strategic town of Tal Hamis - once an ISIS stronghold - and "denied the terrorist group its freedom of maneuver in the area," the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.

During the operation, which ended last Saturday, ISIS lost access to primary travel routes it has previously used to move personnel and materials into Iraq.

"Anti-ISIL forces were able to seize critical portions of route 47 in Syria, a key ISIS communications and supply line leading into Iraq," it added, noting that 94 villages were freed from the clutches of the extremists.

The coalition said "multiple" ISIS weapons systems, vehicles and fighting positions were also destroyed.

"This operation demonstrated the ability of anti-ISIS forces to further degrade Daesh influence in this region," Combined Joint Task Force commander Lieutenant General James Terry said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS, which commands vast areas of Iraq and Syria.

"The determination of these anti-ISIS forces and our precision air strikes enabled us to deny Daesh this key terrain in Syria."

Kurdish forces seized Tal Hamis on February 27 with the help of Arab fighters, but fighting then continued in the area.