IS kills 27 Syrian regime troops near Palmyra

IS kills 27 Syrian regime troops near Palmyra
A day of bloody clashes between Syrian regime fighters and Islamic State group militants near Palmyra have left 27 pro-Damascus forces dead.
1 min read
24 December, 2016
Palmyra has been the focal point of battles between Syrian forces and IS militants [Getty]

The Islamic State group has killed 27 Syrian soldiers and allied militiamen in a series of attacks near Palmyra in the past 24 hours, a monitor said on Friday.

IS began launching attacks on Syrian regime forces and their allies on Thursday night, escalating clashes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

IS targeted several villages with a majority population from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite clan, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

The militants were trying to "totally surround" the nearby T4 military airport and "cut its supply route", he added.

The militants retook Palmyra in central Syria on December 11, just eight months after the army backed by Russia drove them out.

Since then clashes have rattled the region and on Monday attacks by IS on the T4 base killed at least 20 regime force members, including two high-ranking officers, according to the Observatory.

Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its recapture by IS gave the jihadists a propaganda boost as they face assaults on two of their key strongholds - Raqqa in Syria and Iraq's second city Mosul.