Islamic State kills over 300 in Syria attacks

More than 150 dead in IS attacks in southern Syria

The death toll in coordinated Islamic State group suicide bombings and shootings in southern Syria rose to almost 250 overnight, more than half of them civilians, a monitor said on Thursday.

Sweida, which is mainly government-held, had been largely insulated from the conflict raging in the rest of the country since 2011.

The coordinated attacks - the worst in recent months - had all the hallmarks of IS even before it claimed responsibility and were reminiscent of the group's horrific assaults over the past years in Syria, already ravaged by civil war.

Al-Ikhbariya said one of the suicide bombers hit a vegetable market in the city of Sweida just after 5 a.m., a busy time for the merchants at the start of their day.

Islamic State gunmen on foot then fired on local government and rebel militiamen, as well as bystanders, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The suicide blasts and attacks have left at least 32 pro-government fighters and 22 civilians dead, he added, updating an earlier toll.

It is now closing in on a patch of territory in nearby Deraa province held by the extremist group Jaish Khaled bin Al Walid, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

This year it also lost its foothold near Damascus in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. Community leaders in Sweida took a firm position against participating in the war, resisting enrolling their sons in the army to avoid revenge attacks. At least 45 IS militants were killed in the fighting. On Tuesday night the regime targeted the countryside in eastern Deir Ezzor, said the observatory. Two of these were killed and one was arrested.


Her cousin and his wife were both killed. It mentioned nothing about attacking civilians in villages. The Observatory said at least 56 militants were killed.

He said regime forces eventually ousted IS from several villages its fighters had seized and put an end to the attacks.

The assault drew condemnation from the United Nations as well as government allies Russian Federation and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

"We strongly condemn these acts of brutality".

In a statement on Wednesday, al-Zaatari reaffirmed the United Nations firm stance and its demands to protect civilians, infrastructure and keep civilians away from the impacts of war wherever they were.

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.

String of suicide blasts and raids rock troubled the country.

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