Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

IS attack devastates community in southern Syria

IS attack devastates community in southern Syria

A Syrian government official says the death toll from coordinated attacks the previous day by the Islamic State group on a usually peaceful southern city and surrounding countryside has climbed to 216.

It said calm returned to Sweida late on Wednesday after government forces and armed villagers surrounded the IS fighters and killed them.

Noura al-Basha, a local journalist reporting from Suwayda province, told Syria Direct that the IS attack on villages in eastern Suwayda province began at 6:30 am Wednesday morning.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces are now fighting to capture the last-remaining rebel villages in the southern part of the Golan Heights.

But this month it became a new front for advancing Syrian forces after they re-established their authority over most of neighboring Daraa province.

Syria's southwestern Quneitra province includes the Syrian Golan Heights, on the border of the territory held by Israel.

The White Helmets have operated in opposition-held parts of Syria throughout Syria's seven-year civil war.

At least 21 IS jihadists were also killed.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks and suicide blasts in southern Syrian city of Sweida that killed dozens of people. 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".

News websites in Sweida alleged that some of the jihadists who took part in Wednesday's attack had been given safe passage out of Yarmuk.

Attacks on fighting forces as well as civilians are created to show the group is still powerful and capable of wreaking fear and destruction across the war-torn country.

The raids began when three suicide attackers detonated their explosive belts in Sweida city as other blasts hit villages to the north and east, said the Observatory.

With the help of Russian air power, the Syrian army has been hitting IS in a separate pocket further west, near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Islamic State (IS) group is believed to be behind the violence.

It is now closing in on a patch of territory in nearby Deraa province held by the extremist group Jaish Khaled bin Al Walid, whose 1,000 fighters have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

A Syrian military source accused Israel on Tuesday of firing at one of its warplanes as it carried out operations against IS in southern Syria.

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