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Jun 28, 10:39 AM EDT

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian opposition activists say U.S.-backed rebels in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour are approaching a town held by the Islamic State group near the Iraqi border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighters with the New Syrian Army are close to the town of Boukamal, where IS fighters have been on high alert and shops are closing amid fears of violence.

Activist Omar Abu Leila, who is from Deir el-Zour but currently lives in Europe, says the New Syrian Army and IS clashed Tuesday near Boukamal.

Two weeks ago, Washington accused Russian aircraft of bombing the New Syrian Army near the Tanaf border crossing with Iraq.

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