Syrian troops ousted Islamic State extremists Friday from Deir el-Zour, a major city in eastern Syria, while Iraqi forces pushed into the group's last major town across the border in Iraq in simultaneous assaults that dealt further territorial losses to the retreating militants.
With their self-proclaimed "caliphate" crumbling, the extremists have lost almost all their urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
The defeats left the Syrian town of Boukamal as the only urban area still completely under IS control, along with scattered pockets of territory along the Syria-Iraq border.
Syrian troops backed by Russia and Kurdish-led forces supported by the United States are now racing toward Boukamal from opposite sides of the Euphrates River, triggering concerns that a proxy showdown could ensue between the two sides.

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