Islamic State kills dozens in south Syria attacks: state media

MIDEAST-CRISIS-SYRIA-SWEIDA
Syrian army advances in southwest against IS militants
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28 July, 2018

ISIS terrorists killed dozens of people in a string of attacks on government-held parts of the southwest, including multiple suicide blasts in Sweida city, official sources said.

After decades of calm, tensions began flaring up in the Golan with the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Facing imminent defeat, terrorists resorted to a craven last-ditch effort and carried out deadly attacks in As-Suwayda, in southwestern Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The total number of people killed in yesterday's attacks by the Islamic State terror organization in the Syrian city of Sweida rose to 302 on Thursday, a UK-based war monitor reported.

The suicide bombings came in tandem with attacks by the IS militants on towns in the northeastern countryside of Sweida after dawn Wednesday. On Tuesday night the regime targeted the countryside in eastern Deir Ezzor, the Observatory reported.

On Wednesday, Russia-backed regime forces pressed their heavy bombardment of the ISIS-held pocket in Daraa.

The following year, rebel fighters and jihadists from Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate expanded their control, seizing the crossing between the Syrian section of the Golan and the part annexed by Israel.

As Syria's civil war took increasingly sectarian undertones, pitting the largely Sunni opposition against the predominantly Alawite ruling class, the Druze minority stayed largely on the sidelines. It said the dead included at least 35 civilians.

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The carnage sparked clashes later in the day between Syrian troops and allied militias and IS militants.

Islamic State was driven from almost all the territory it once held in Syria a year ago in separate offensives by the Russian-backed army and a US-backed militia alliance.

Multiple bombers blew themselves up near a market and a busy square in the city of Sweida.

They came nearly a week into a deadly Russia-backed regime campaign to oust IS fighters from a holdout in a neighbouring province of the country's south. This is one of the biggest ISIS attacks in months.

IS officially claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks.

SNN also shared the names of at least 18 people abducted from one village, Shabki, a lot of them women.

The Syrian military, backed by Russian forces, recently launched an operation to drive the rebels from their remaining strongholds in the south-west. The Syrian government has been fighting to rid the last vestiges of ISIS from surrounding provinces, Ruth Sherlock reports. The army said two rockets were launched over the Golan Heights from Syrian territory, and later identified the incident as "errant fire from the internal fighting in Syria".


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