Bashar Assad

Syrian troops battling IS cross river toward US-backed force

Syrian troops battling the Islamic State militant group crossed to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour on Monday, threatening a potential faceoff with the U.S.-backed forces operating there.

But the U.S.-led coalition spokesman played down concerns, saying both advancing forces are maintaining lines of communication to avoid conflict.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, told The Associated Press that the top commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian forces has maintained "open lines" of communication and discussions with his counterpart in the Syrian government to avoid friction.

This is the first sign of direct contact...