ISIS suicide blasts kill more than 220 in southern Syria

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DMASCUS(Daily P.Times) : A string of suicide blasts and raids claimed by the ISIS killed more than 220 people in southern Syria, in one of the terrorist group’s deadliest ever assaults in the country.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks hit several areas of the largely government-held southern province of Sweida, where ISIS retains a presence in a northeastern desert region.
The bloodshed came almost a week into a Russia-backed regime campaign to oust ISIS fighters from a holdout in a neighbouring province of the country’s south.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the violence, saying “soldiers of the caliphate” attacked Syrian government positions and security outposts in Sweida city, then detonated explosive belts.
The Britain-based Observatory said four suicide bombers targeted Sweida city while others hit small villages to the north and east and shot residents in their homes. At least 221 people were killed, including 127 civilians, the Observatory said.
The remaining 94 dead were pro-regime fighters, mostly residents who took up arms to defend their homes, it said.
The overwhelming majority of the dead “were in (Sweida’s) northern countryside, where the bodies of civilians executed inside their homes were found,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told media.
Sweida, whose residents are mostly from the Druze minority, has been relatively insulated from the war that has ravaged the rest of the country since 2011.
“It’s the bloodiest death toll in Sweida province since the start of the war” and one of the deadliest ever IS attacks in Syria, the Observatory chief said.
He said regime forces eventually ousted ISIS from several villages its fighters had seized and put an end to the attacks. “Some residents who fled the attacks on their villages are returning and finding people dead in their homes,” Abdel Rahman said.At least 38 ISIS fighters were also killed, including the suicide attackers.

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