More than 200 killed as Isil storms villages in Syria assault

27 July, 2018, 23:00 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • The site of one of the explosions in Suwayda city on Wednesday

A series of suicide bombings and attacks in southern Syria, including a suicide bomber who struck at a busy vegetable market, killed 38 people on Wednesday, state media reported, blaming Islamic State militants for the carnage.

The site of one of the explosions in Suwayda city on Wednesday.

State-run news agency SANA earlier reported some of the attacks, including suicide bombings in the city of Sweida, a provincial capital populated by Syria's minority Druze.

However, the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the number at 56 people, including 28 pro-government fighters, and the town's health authority said that the number of dead was as high as 150.

A local fighter in Suwayda province on Wednesday
A local fighter in Suwayda province on Wednesday

Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, move a victim from the site of an airstrike in the al-Sakhour neighborhood of the rebel-held part of eastern Aleppo, Syria, on September 21, 2016. The Observatory said the dead included at least 41 civilians.

"Over the last few days, intense internal fighting has taken place in Syria adjacent to the border with Israel".

"All Islamic State terrorists and missile systems were destroyed by a pin-point retaliation strike of the Israel Defense Forces warplanes and artillery", the ministry said.

Fighters from ISIL reportedly attacked three villages northeast of Sweida city, killing and wounding a number of people, SANA added.

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"My relative shot back at one of the fighters outside our home and we heard him scream: "The infidels have killed me", she told AFP.

Syria's south is ostensibly protected from fighting by an internationally brokered ceasefire since a year ago, but violence has dramatically risen in recent weeks.

The regime of President Bashar Al-Assad controls nearly all of Sweida province.

Pro-Assad forces began pushing last week towards the border area close to the demilitarised zone adjoining the Israeli-occupied area after rebels surrendered large parts of Quneitra province.

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Although the group has largely been defeated across Syria and Iraq, it still holds pockets of territory.

By nightfall, the province's health directorate had recorded 215 civilians killed and 180 wounded, according to local official Hassan Omar, making it the single bloodiest day for the province since the 2011 national revolt that sparked the ongoing civil war.

Syria's southwestern Quneitra province includes the Golan Heights, most of which is annexed and occupied by Israel. The group also has a small presence on the eastern edge of Sweida province.

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