IS captures Syrian desert outpost in fierce battle with regime forces
Initial reports said the militants had captured the town itself, but it later became apparents that only the outpost was seized.
Reports from various conflict monitors said that Russian planes launched strikes on the Al-Waar area, southeast of Sukhna, to push back IS militants attacking a regime outpost and military convoy in the Syrian desert, sparking fierce artillery clashes and shelling.
Syria expert Elizabeth Tsurkov said the reports had been confirmed by sources inside the Syrian regime army.
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Tsurkov called the attack a "major setback" for the regime.
War monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said its activists had documented "gross human losses" on both sides, including at least 18 pro-regime soldiers and 11 IS fighters, but these figures have not yet been verified.
Fighting broke out between Syrian regime forces and IS militants near Sukhna last year, including regime airstrikes on IS positions.
Syrian regime forces recaptured Sukhna from IS in 2017.
Remaining IS factions have also murdered locals who have worked with Syrian Democratic Forces authorities.
In central Syria the militants have also retained a series of mountainous hideouts and launch frequent raids on checkpoints and civilian targets.
However the attack on Sukhna marks the first IS attack in years that goes beyond their previous tactics while in hiding.
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