IS fighters ambush city, villages in southern Syria

Smoke and explosions from the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in southern Syria

The Islamic State terror organization killed at least 183 people, both combatants and civilians, in fighting and suicide bombings in southern Syria on Wednesday, a war monitor said in a report.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

A mass funeral was held in the city of Sweida on Thursday where men gathered in a hall to pay their respects to the dead.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three suicide attackers set off booby-trapped belts in Sweida city, as other blasts hit villages to the north and east.

In the eastern countryside of Sweida, some areas in the remote eastern countryside are under IS control.

Government forces have previously retaken territories controlled by the rebels in the border area and are now fighting militants there.

On Wednesday, Russia-backed regime forces pressed their heavy bombardment of the ISIS-held pocket in Daraa. Syrian forces are battling an IS-linked group near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and near the border with Jordan.

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. At least 135 civilians were among the killed, the Observatory said.

More than 200 people were killed in a series of suicide bombings launched by Islamic State fighters on the eastern and northe

On July 24, Israel said it shot down a Syrian plane that had entered its airspace over the Golan, a claim denied by Damascus, which said the plane was carrying out operations against Islamic State.

Islamic State lost almost all the territory it once held in Syria past year in separate offensives by the Russian-backed army and a USA -backed militia alliance.

IS says more than 100 people were killed. This is one of the biggest ISIS attacks in months.

Fuelling the anger was a perceived absence of any significant army role when local Druze youths who rushed to protect civilians in trapped villages confronted the militants, according to two residents.

Many local vigilante groups set up checkpoints across the city as fears persisted of renewed attacks, another resident contacted by phone said.

On Tuesday, a Syrian military source accused Israel of firing at one of its warplanes as it carried out operations against jihadists in Quneitra.

"Sweida city and surrounding towns in the Syrian Arab Republic were subjected to a unsafe terrorist operation perpetrated by ISIS gangs".




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