FILE - This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. The past year, ISIL _ has taken over swaths of territory in Syria, particularly in the east. It has increasingly clashed with other factions, particularly an umbrella group called the Islamic Front and with Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, the group that Ayman al-Zawahri declared last year to be al-Qaidaís true representative in Syria. That fighting has accelerated the past month. (AP Photo/militant website, File)

Islamic State counter-attack ‘pushes Syrian regime forces from Raqqa province’

Jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant drove Syrian regime troops out of Raqqa province on Monday, killing dozens of fighters in a lightning counter-attack, a monitoring group said.

The attack was mounted late on Sunday in response to a regime offensive in the Isil stronghold of Raqqa that began on June 3 that advanced about 12 miles toward the town of Tabqa, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It came as John Kerry, US Secretary of State, said he had read a memo from a group of frustrated diplomats urging strikes against the Syrian regime and found it “very good”.