IS Syria-Iraq communication lines smashed: coalition

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) control Hasakeh city, but IS militants have launched attacks on towns nearby (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)

Washington (AFP) - Forces fighting the Islamic State group have cut critical communication and supply lines used by the extremists between Syria and Iraq after a two-week operation, the US-led coalition said.

Backed by air strikes, the forces "overcame ISIL (IS) resistance" in northeastern Syria near the strategic town of Tal Hamis -- once an IS 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 Saturday, the IS group 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 ISIL 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" IS weapons systems, vehicles and fighting positions were also destroyed.

"This operation demonstrated the ability of anti-ISIL 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 the IS group, which commands vast areas of Iraq and Syria.

"The determination of these anti-ISIL 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.