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Islamic State has staged fierce counter-attacks in central Syria in recent days, testing the army's control of an area seized in a months-long eastward offensive.In June, two USA intelligence officials told Reuters that they believed Islamic State had moved most of its diminished command structure and propaganda team to al-Mayadin, southeast of its former capital of Raqqa.

Only al-Mayadeen and Bukamal remain under the IS stronghold in the southeastern countryside of Deir al-Zour, on the border with Iraq. The HTS-linked Ibaa news agency did not mention the attack but said Russian warplanes were bombing areas the group controls in northern Syria.

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.

IS remains in control of half of Deir Ezzor province, despite advances by President Bashar Al-Assad's forces and a separate offensive against the militants by the Kurdish-Arab alliance.

The Observatory said al-Qaida fighters captured several areas in the village on Friday.

Violence in eastern Syria has escalated significantly in recent weeks as Syrian troops with the help of Russian air cover have been closing in on Mayadeen.

In eastern Syria, meanwhile, 15 civilians, including children, were killed when a missile slammed into a government-held neighborhood in the city of Deir el-Zour on Thursday evening. The school and a nearby residential building were destroyed. Moscow has said its Syrian allies were attacked by militants coming from areas near a deconfliction zone overseen by the U.S.

Syrian troops broke a almost three-year siege on parts of Deir el-Zour last month and are now fighting to liberate the remaining parts of the city from IS.

"On October 6, 2017 a Mi-28 helicopter had to make an emergency landing due to technical problems". The two crewmen were not injured and were flown back to base.

"As follows from the crew's report and the examination of the aircraft, there had been no fire attack", the Defense Ministry stated. However, no information has been received about any USA operations against the Islamic State during the six months of its existence.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in August that the recapture of Deir Ezzor would "say a lot, if not everything, about the end of the battle with [ISIS]" in an interview with Russian state broadcaster Rossiya 24. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that 40 ISIL terrorists holding the Tajik and Iraqi nationalities were killed and a backing center that belongs to them was destroyed along with seven vehicles equipped with heavy machineguns in the Russian strikes on the surrounding of al-Bukmal city.

The Russian accusations likely reflect rising tensions as USA -backed Syrian forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army — both of which are battling IS — race for control of oil and gas-rich areas of eastern Syria.