Islamic State Jihadists killed 37 soldiers when they ambushed a bus on Wednesday in one of the deadliest attacks since the fall of their “caliphate” last year, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack in eastern Deir Ezzor province was targeting regime soldiers who were traveling home for the holidays.
The official SANA news agency reported that “25 citizens” were killed and 13 injured in a “terrorist attack” on a bus.
IS overran large parts of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a cross-border “caliphate” in 2014, before several offensives in both countries led to its territorial defeat.
The group was defeated in Syria in March last year, but dormitories continue to launch attacks in the vast desert that stretches from the central province of Homs to Deir Ezzor and the border with Iraq.
“It was one of the deadliest attacks since the fall of the IS caliphate (self-appointed),” the head of the observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP, referring to the bus robbery on Wednesday.
Abdel Rahman said the bus was attacked near Shula village by jihadists who detonated roadside bombs before opening fire on soldiers belonging to the Army’s 4th Division.
At least 37 soldiers were killed, including eight officers and twelve other wounded. The war monitor announced in an updated toll that some of the injured were in “critical condition”.
Two more buses that were part of the convoy escaped, the observatory said.
There was no immediate claim to responsibility for the attack.
In December 2017, then Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a final victory against ISIS, and the group lost the last of its so-called caliphate in Syria in March 2019.
But dormitory cells have retained their ability to strike, despite losing the territory they once owned in both Iraq and Syria, which operated mainly in the vast desert between the two countries.
In recent months, jihadists and Russian-backed Syrian regime troops have regularly clashed in the Syrian Badia desert.
In April, 27 fighters loyal to the Damascus government and Allied Iran-backed militiamen were killed in an IS attack near the regime-controlled desert city of Al-Sukhna.
The war in Syria has killed more than 387,000 people since the beginning of 2011, according to the observatory.
More than 130,500 pro-government fighters, including foreigners, were killed.
And since March 2019, according to the observatory, more than 1,300 Syrian soldiers and allied pro-Iranian militiamen as well as over 600 IS fighters have been killed.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)