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Islamic State Takes Advantage Of Ukraine War To Increase Attacks

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Al Monitor

Islamic State Takes Advantage Of Ukraine War To Increase Attacks

by Sultan al-Kanj

The Islamic State has recently intensified its activity against the Syrian government forces and its allies, setting up a number of ambushes in the Syrian desert and killing dozens.

The Islamic State (IS) regularly targets military bases and vehicles in the Syrian desert, which extends between the governorates of Homs and Deir ez-Zor on the border with Iraq, the area to which IS fighters have retreated since they lost their last stronghold in Syria in 2019.

On March 6, Syria’s official SANA news agency quoted a government military source as saying that “13 soldiers were killed and 18 others were wounded when a military bus was attacked by terrorists in the Palmyra desert in the Homs countryside.”

More recently, on March 16, IS militants staged an ambush against military targets belonging to Iranian forces in the Syrian desert, killing three of them.

Sources told Al-Monitor that the government forces brought in military reinforcements to Palmyra from other areas in the Homs governorate, including military vehicles, weapons and soldiers from the 14th Special Forces Division.

On March 10, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that six members of the government forces were killed and seven others were injured after a landmine left behind by IS exploded near Jabal al-Amour in the Palmyra desert in eastern Homs.

The SOHR quoted sources as saying, “The regime forces supported by armed proxies and Russian helicopters that took off from Palmyra military airport have started a combing operation for the Syrian desert from Palmyra and Al-Soukhna en route to T2 and T3 areas in the Syrian desert in search of [IS] cells that have escalated its activities in the region recently.”

SOHR reported on March 10 that the death toll during the military operations pitting government forces and IS militants in the Syrian desert has reached 136 since the beginning of 2022. This includes 69 IS members; 67 government forces and allied fighters were killed in 21 IS operations, which were carried out through ambushes, armed attacks and bombings.

Full story https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/03/islamic-state-takes-advantage-ukraine-war-increase-attacks

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