Jihadists killed more than 60 Syrian regime fighters in 48 hours, a monitor said Saturday, in some of the deadliest attacks on pro-Damascus forces in recent weeks.
Kurdish-led forces in March announced the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants’ caliphate in eastern Syria, but the jihadists have retained hideouts there and in other parts of the country as well as the ability to carry out deadly assaults.
Since Thursday, ISIL jihadists have killed 35 pro-Damascus fighters in regime-held parts of central and eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said it was “the highest death toll among regime forces since the caliphate was declared defeated” in the eastern village of Baghouz last month.
Regime fighters also came under attack on another front of Syria’s grinding eight-year war, the Britain-based monitor added. On Saturday, jihadists linked to Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate attacked loyalists outside the northwestern region of Idlib, killing 26 pro-Assad fighters, it said.
It was the latest death tally in a civil war that has killed more than 370,000 people since starting in 2011.
President Bashar al-Assad has managed to claw back around 60 percent of the country with Russian military backing since 2015, but several regions remain beyond the regime’s control.