Israel's strike hit Islamic State terrorists in Syria - Russian defense ministry

27 July, 2018, 23:01 | Author: Angel Logan
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A series of suicide bombings and attacks in southern Syria, including a suicide bomber who struck at a busy vegetable market, killed 38 people on Wednesday, state media reported, blaming Islamic State militants for the carnage.

In March 2013, rebels fighting Assad's forces launched coordinated attacks in the area and began seizing parts of the province.

Islamic State gunmen on foot then fired on local government and rebel militiamen, as well as bystanders, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The Observatory put the death toll at 221, including 127 civilians.

Israel and Western powers helped evacuate 422 White Helmets and their families from Syria into Jordan last week but others were unable to make it out because of government checkpoints and the expansion of Islamic State in the area.

The attacks took place in and around the government-held city of Sweida, state media and monitors reported.

IS has been largely defeated in Syria and Iraq, but still has pockets of territory it controls in eastern and southern Syria.

The militants attempted to lure the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into striking Syrian government troops, but Israel did not fall for it.

The attacks also killed 94 regime fighters, most of whom were residents who had picked up weapons to defend their villages as well as 30 ISIS fighters, including the attackers.

Syria's Druze minority makes up around three percent of the population.

Anger over President Bashar al Assad's authorities perceived failure to avert the dawn attacks pushed residents to prevent the governor of the province, Amer al Ashi, and representatives of the government from attending the funeral. It said the dead included civilians, pro-government fighters and IS militants.

He said it was also one of the most deadly in the whole country.

The extremist group boasted that its "soldiers" killed more than 100 people in Sweida. The operation has focused on Deraa and Quneitra provinces.

Video footage broadcast by Syria's state-run television network on Friday showed the hospital at the Quneitra Crossing and in close proximity to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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.

Tensions had risen a day earlier after Israel shot down a Syrian warplane that it said had crossed into airspace above the Israeli-occupied Golan.

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