IS attacks kill 73 government forces in eastern Syria in 24 hours

BEIRUT, Weedah Hamzah (dpa) - At least 73 Syrian regime forces and their allies were killed in a series of attacks launched by the Islamic State militia in eastern Syria in the last 24 hours, a monitoring group said on Friday.
The attacks began on Thursday and mainly targeted areas the extremists have lost recently, from the west of Deir al-Zour province to al-Sukhna on the eastern side of Homs, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Among the killed, 10 were from the (Lebanese Shiite movement) Hezbollah," a main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the observatory said.
It added that Islamic state lost 45 of its militants in the attacks.
Several attacks were carried out simultaneously and hit Syrian regime force checkpoints and positions, the watchdog said.
On Thursday, Islamic State released a purported audio recording of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he vows to continue fighting despite the extremist group's military setbacks.
In recent weeks, both government forces and the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have each claimed gains against the radical group in Deir al-Zour, which borders Iraq.
Islamic State took control of Deir al-Zour in 2014.
Meanwhile, in the countryside of Idlib in north-western Syria, at least 12 people were killed - among them three children - when planes believed to be Russian hit Aramanaz.
"The planes fired six rockets, which destroyed at least four buildings ... wounding more than 50 people," activists in the area told dpa.
On September 15, Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to create a so-called "de-escalation zone" in Idlib.
Russia, Iran and Turkey have been seeking to ensure a broad ceasefire in war-torn Syria. They said in September that each country could send 500 monitors to a new safe zone for civilians in Idlib.
The fundamental duty of the monitoring forces is defined as preventing conflict between the regime and the opposition, and monitoring possible violations of the ceasefire.
Idlib is largely run by hardline Islamist factions, with al-Qaeda's wing in Syria the dominant force, particularly in the area along the border with Turkey.
Syria said that the deal does not include extremist groups who have rejected ceasefires, including the faction linked to al-Qaeda.

Friday, September 29th 2017
Weedah Hamzah

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