More than 220 dead in IS attacks on southern Syria

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) unleashed suicide blasts and gunfire on Wednesday (July 25) in a rare onslaught on a southern Syrian city, officials and a monitor said, killing more than 200 people and underscoring the militant group's ability to strike despite losing most of its territory.

Al-Ikhbariya said one of the attackers hit at 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.

A number of civilians were killed and others were injured on Wednesday morning in terrorist attacks on the city of Sweida synchronizing with terrorist attacks on a number of villages in eastern and northern rural areas.

Militant fighters stormed several villages and staged suicide blasts in the provincial capital Swaida, near one of the few remote pockets still held by Daesh, after it was driven from most of its territory a year ago.

Pro-Assad forces raised the Syrian flag in the largely ruined city of Quneitra on Thursday, regained from surrendering rebels as the government tightens its hold on the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights, strategic territory bordering Israel and Jordan.

But this month it became a new front for advancing Syrian forces after they re-established their authority over most of neighboring Daraa province. It said the dead included at least 35 civilians.

Israel's army earlier said it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet that had infiltrated Israeli airspace, risking another escalation around the sensitive buffer zone.

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.

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

The Russians reached a deal with the last group of mainstream rebels in control of the rebel part of northwestern Quneitra province in a deal that now effectively brings the whole of the border frontier under state control, an opposition source said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the carnage.

The Syrian warplanes are also taking part in striking the IS fighters in the areas where clashes are ongoing northeast of Sweida.

IS seized three of the seven villages they targeted, he said. But in recent weeks, President Bashar al-Assad's forces have swept through rebel territory, recapturing scores of southern villages in a Russian-backed offensive.

The Syrian government condemned the move, describing it as a "criminal operation" by Israel and others.

State television also reported casualties in villages to the north and east, adding that the army was "targeting positions of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group".

  • Tracy Klein