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Islamic State kills about 100 in southwest Syria attacks

Islamic State kills about 100 in southwest Syria attacks

According to local pro-opposition news outlet Suwayda 24, several identity cards of IS fighters killed during Wednesday's attacks on Suwayda province traced them to south Damascus.

State news agency SANA said dozens were killed in the assault but did not give a specific toll.

SNN also shared the names of at least 18 people abducted from one village, Shabki, a lot of them women.

"The toll is now 246 people dead, including 135 civilians", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said.

The army is still battling a local Islamic State affiliate around the Yarmouk Basin nearby, where the army said on Thursday its ground forces had made significant progress after almost 10 days of relentless Russian-led bombing.

In the city itself, at least two attackers blew themselves up, one near a marketplace and the second in another district, state television said.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that the Islamic State terror group had claimed responsibility for the terror attacks.

For his part, Amer al-Ashi, the governor of Sweida, said that two suicide bombers were killed and their explosive devices were dismantled.

"The city of Sweida is secure and calm now", he told state-run Ikhbariyah TV.

IS has been largely defeated in Syria and Iraq, but still has pockets of territory it controls in eastern and southern Syria.

After losing its strongholds in eastern Syria previous year, Islamic State launched insurgency operations from pockets of territory in desert areas. The group also has a small presence on the eastern edge of Sweida province, and in the desert in the adjacent Homs province.

While there are no Filipinos reported among the casualties, the Philippine Embassy in Damascus said it remains ready to assist and repatriate any of the estimated 1,000 Filipinos who are still in Syria.

IS seized three of the seven villages they targeted, he said.

The attack by the IS came as Syrian government forces backed by Russian airpower continued their month-long military offensive to recover territory in southwest Syria bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The following year, rebel fighters and jihadists from Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate expanded their control, seizing the crossing between the Syrian section of the Golan and the part annexed by Israel.

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