BEIRUT: An attack by the militant Islamic State group in the Syrian desert on Thursday killed 11 government and allied fighters, a monitoring group said.
The fighters died in an attack on their vehicle between Al-Sokhna and Al-Shula in the area straddling Homs and Deir Ezzor provinces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the UK-based monitoring organisation, could not immediately provide further details, but warned that the casualty toll could rise.
There was no immediate claim from IS, whose caliphate disintegrated last year but has continued to conduct frequent guerrilla-style attacks in eastern Syria.
At least 27 government and allied fighters were killed in an attack by the jihadist group in the same desert area a month ago.
IS has also carried out deadly attacks in Iraq in recent weeks.
Observers have warned that border closures and mobilisation of security resources due to the coronavirus pandemic could give rise to a surge in IS attacks.
The jihadist group, which once administered a proto-state the size of Great Britain, no longer has fixed positions, but it still has hundreds of fighters hunkered down in desert hideouts.
Two members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were also killed in a suspected IS attack in Baghouz, near the border with Iraq, the Observatory said.
Such attacks against the SDF have been frequent in the Baghouz area, where the IS “caliphate” made a bloody last stand at the beginning of 2019.
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2020