IS claims deadly attack on Syrian government troops
ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed six soldiers in Syria’s southern province of Daraa, the cradle of the 2011 uprising against the government.
The jihadist group said it was responsible for a “suicide operation” Saturday during which one of its fighters sprayed soldiers with machine-gun fire before detonating an “explosive vest.”
The claim, posted late Saturday on the Telegram messaging app, was the second by the group this week for an attack in Syria, from which it was largely expelled last year.
ISIS on Monday said it was responsible for a deadly car bombing in Damascus, where a civilian was killed when a vehicle exploded in the southern suburb of Qadam.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said six soldiers were killed and several other people wounded in Saturday’s attack in Daraa, where peaceful anti-government protests erupted in March 2011.
It said a bomber riding a motorcycle blew himself up at a military checkpoint.
Syrian state news agency SANA also reported a suicide bombing but said it happened during an “army raid” that targeted “terrorists”, a term used by authorities to describe rebels and jihadists. It did not give a death toll.
Syria’s eight-year conflict, which evolved from a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests into a full-blown civil war involving regional and international players, has killed more than 370,000 people.
After the war broke out, Damascus was hit by several deadly attacks carried out mainly by jihadist groups.
But the frequency of attacks decreased after regime forces last year recaptured areas around the capital held by rebels or jihadists, notably the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta.
Last March, a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance expelled ISIS from its last patch of territory in eastern Syria.
But the jihadists retain a presence in the country’s vast Badia desert and still claim deadly attacks, mostly in the Kurdish-held northeast.