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Syrian army captures village from Islamic State

A Free Syrian Army fighter of the 101 Division, takes a position behind sandbags near the town of Morek in the north of Hama province, Syria in this file photo taken on October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army has seized a village from Islamic State in western Syria, state media and a group monitoring the war reported on Tuesday, retaking territory in an area where the jihadist group had recently advanced near a vital north-south highway.

The captured village, al-Hadath, is about 30 km (20 miles) east of the highway linking the cities of Damascus and Homs. Islamic State was reported to have captured the nearby village of Maheen on Nov. 1.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said heavy clashes were under way between government forces and Islamic State fighters at Hawareen, which adjoins Maheen.

A newsflash on state TV said government forces were successfully advancing towards Hawareen, Maheen, and Qarayatain, which Islamic State seized from government control in August.

Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey