Syrian troops approached the last stronghold of ISIS in the country

Vadim Savitskiy  Russia's Defense Ministry press service  TASS

The Russian airstrikes destroyed an IS strongpoint at the town of Albu Kamal near the Syrian-Iraqi border, killing about 40 militants from Tajikistan and Iraq, said the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov in a statement.

At least 120 fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed in the air raids carried out by Russian forces over the past 24 hours, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

Also, Russian jets bombed "a group of 60 foreign fighters, nationals of [former Soviet republics], Tunisia and Egypt", the statement said, adding that 12 SUVs carrying heavy weapons were destroyed in the airstrike.

The Russian-backed Syrian army reached the outskirts of the key eastern city of Mayadeen on Friday, as the Islamic State (IS) militants have called for reinforcements to confront the attack of the Syrian forces.

The Observatory said Russian air strikes on Thursday night killed 14 people, including three children, fleeing across the Euphrates on rafts near Mayadeen, AFP reported.

Elsewhere near the Jordanian border, the Russian military said the U.S. is using the refugees living in the Rukban desert camp as human shields to protect its military base in the southeastern town of al-Tanf.

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Mayadeen in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir Ezzor is seen as the militant group's "security and military capital" in Syria, and its loss would deal "a severe blow" to the militants, according to a Syrian military source.

The parallel offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of mainly Kurdish militia, has on numerous occasions hampered the Syrian government's anti-Daesh battles.

Sheikh Muhammad Amlah, a leader of tribesmen fighters alongside the Syrian army, was cited by the pro-government al-Watan daily on Friday as saying that the army is advancing toward Mayadeen city as well as the area of Muhasan and other areas on the eastern bank of Euphrates River.

Russian Federation has denied all reports of collateral damage in Syria, however, independent observers have accused the country's air force of spilling more civilian blood than ISIS or any other combatant in the Syrian Civil War during some months.

On another front, regime forces said Friday they had ended their military operations in the east of central province of Homs, after "eliminating the last groups" of IS fighters from an area of 1,800 square km (700 square miles), the official Sana news agency reported.

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