20 Syrian pro-govt forces killed in IS attacks: monitor

The dead included at least nine members of the Quds Brigade, a group comprising Palestinians fighters that has received support from Damascus ally Moscow in recent years, according to the monitor.
A Syrian flag flies as people walk across the Hafez al-Assad bridge across the Barada river in the centre of Damascus on April 14, 2024. — (Photo: AFP)
A Syrian flag flies as people walk across the Hafez al-Assad bridge across the Barada river in the centre of Damascus on April 14, 2024. — (Photo: AFP)

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) - Islamic State group fighters on Thursday killed 20 Syrian soldiers and affiliated pro-government forces in two attacks on Damascus-controlled areas of the war-torn country, a war monitor said.

A total of "16 regime forces and pro-government gunmen were killed in an IS attack on a military bus in the eastern countryside of Homs province," said the Syrian Observatory for Human rights.

The dead included at least nine members of the Quds Brigade, a group comprising Palestinians fighters that has received support from Damascus ally Moscow in recent years, according to the monitor.

"Four regime forces were killed in another IS attack on a military site in the Albukamal countryside" in eastern Syria that saw two also taken hostage, the British-based monitor added.

In late March, IS militants "executed" eight Syria soldiers following an ambush, the monitor had said, also reporting 14 troops killed by the jihadists in prior days.

IS overran large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming its "caliphate" and launching a reign of terror.

It was defeated territorially in Syria in 2019, but its remnants continue to carry out deadly attacks, particularly in the vast Badia desert which runs from the outskirts of Damascus to the Iraqi border, mainly targeting pro-government forces and Kurdish-led fighters.

Syria's war has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more since it broke out in March 2011 with Damascus's brutal repression of anti-government protests.