A file picture showing soldiers on patrol in Idlib, Syria. EFE/EPA/FILE/Yahya Nemah

At least 23 soldiers killed in IS attack in Syria

Beirut, Aug 11 (EFE).- At least 23 soldiers were killed and ten others were injured in an attack by Islamic State (IS) fighters on a bus carrying soldiers in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Friday.

“ISIS members ambushed a regime military bus on a road in Al-Mayadeen desert in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, killing 23 regime soldiers and injuring ten others, while the fate of tens others remains unknown,” the UK-based war-monitoring group said in a statement.

The number of fatalities is expected to rise further, as some of the soldiers sustained serious injuries, SOHR added.

It underlined that Friday’s ambush by IS fighters was “the most violent attack on regime forces in 2023.”

Hours after the deadly ambush, Russian fighter jets carried out several airstrikes on the caves and bunkers of the IS fighters in Al-Raqqah desert, SOHR said in a separate statement.

On Tuesday, 10 members of the Syrian forces were killed in another IS attack in the northern province of Al-Raqqa.

Although the IS was defeated in Syria more than four years ago, the group still has active cells in various parts of the country, particularly in the vast central Badia deserts.

The desert region, which spans several Syrian provinces and stretches beyond the nation’s borders, is often the scene of ambushes and confrontation between IS militants and Syrian government forces.

Russia, an ally of the government at Damascus, often provides air support to the Syrian army in anti-terrorism operations in the Badia deserts.

According to SOHR statistics, so far this year at least 402 people- 225 soldiers, 157 civilians and 20 militants – have died in militant ambushes and military operations in the Syrian desert region. EFE