BEIRUT: More than two dozen pro-government forces based in Syria’s desert died in a surprise Daesh attack Tuesday, a day after the extremist’s militants were removed from the outskirts of Damascus, a monitor said.
“At least 26 regime soldiers and allied forces were killed in a Daesh attack at dawn today, against one of their posts in the Syrian Badiya,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Among them were Iranian militiamen, said the Britain-based monitor.
The Badiya is a vast desert region stretching from central Syria to the eastern border with Iraq, where Daesh still holds small pockets.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the attack hit a small base east of Palmyra, the famed ancient city that Daesh has overrun twice in Syria’s war.
“It began with a car bomb targeting regime forces that set off clashes that are still ongoing,” he said.
Five Daesh militants were also killed.
Daesh militants launched their attack from a pocket they control in the Badiya, and which was the destination for extremists evacuated from southern Damascus on Sunday and Monday,” Abdel Rahman added.
Syria’s government on Monday seized a southern pocket of the capital from Daesh, announcing that the regime was back in full control of Damascus and its outskirts.
The Observatory, as well as a military source close to the regime, said the capture came after Daesh militants were bussed out of the zone to desert territory.