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Syria: Islamic State attack 'kills 23 government soldiers'

At least 10 others wounded and dozens missing as military vehicle targeted in Deir Ezzor, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province (AFP/File)
A village in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province (AFP/file)

The Islamic State (IS) group were responsible for an attack on a military bus in Syria's Deir Ezzor province which killed 23 government troops, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). 

The attack, which took place on Thursday in the town of al-Mayadeen in the eastern desert region, wounded an additional 10 soldiers.

The UK-based SOHR said a bus carrying a group of soldiers was ambushed and attacked with light weapons and medium machine guns.

Dozens of soldiers were missing following the attack, and some of those wounded were in critical condition. SOHR described the attack as the deadliest by IS in 2023.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

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IS controlled one-third of Iraq and Syria at its peak in 2014. Though it was beaten back in both countries, its fighters continue to wage deadly attacks.

On Monday, IS members reportedly killed 10 Syrian pro-government fighters in the northern city of Raqqa, its former de-facto capital under its self-declared "caliphate".

According to SOHR, there have been 402 fatalities since the beginning of this year in violent confrontations between IS members and pro-government forces and other groups in the Syrian desert. 

That includes 225 fighters belonging to Syrian government forces and proxy groups, including 37 Iranian-backed fighters, it said.

It also includes 157 civilians and 20 IS members killed by pro-government forces and Russian air strikes in hideouts in the deserts of Homs, al-Suweyda, Hama, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo.

In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi, the "suspected leader" of IS, was killed by Turkish forces during an operation in northwest Syria.

Last week, the group named Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Quraishi as its new leader.

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