Syrian troops, IS in intense fighting
Syrian activist-based media group Qasioun News, which has-been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, people gather near damaged buildings, in the aftermath of a Russian airstrike, in Dair al-Asafeer village - AP

Activists are reporting intense fighting between Syrian troops and members of the Islamic State group in the contested eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says IS gunmen launched an offensive Friday on government-held neighborhoods in Deir el-Zour.

It said Syrian warplanes are taking part in the battles and that the extremists are believed to have blown up two car bombs in the city.

The Local Coordination Committees reported “very intense” clashes on different fronts in the city that is partly controlled by the government and partly by IS fighters.

IS fighters have launched several attacks in attempts to capture government-held parts of the city and nearby airport over the past weeks without success.

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