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    5. Islamic State jihadists 'execute' eight Syrian soldiers after desert ambush

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    Islamic State jihadists 'execute' eight Syrian soldiers after desert ambush

    Islamic State militants continue to carry out deadly attacks, especially in the vast Badiya desert. Photo: ZUMA Press/Alamy

    Islamic State ( IS jihadist group “executed” eight Syrian soldiers after an ambush, a military observer said on Sunday, saying the jihadists had killed 14 soldiers in recent days.

    IS captured large areas of Syria and Iraq declared its “caliphate” in 2014 and began a reign of terror. It suffered a territorial defeat in Syria in 2019, but its remnants continue to carry out deadly attacks, particularly in the vast Badiya desert, which stretches from the outskirts of Damascus to the Iraqi border, targeting mainly pro-government forces and Kurdish forces. led the fighters.

    IS cells “executed eight members of the regime forces… including an officer” after an ambush this week in the desert in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The troops were sent from Sukhna. towards the city of Deir ez-Zor when they were attacked, the observatory said, without specifying when exactly they were killed.

    Islamic State jihadists march in Raqqa, Syria, 2014. Photo: AP

    Meanwhile, a bomb exploded in a commercial area of ​​a Turkish-held city in northern Syria on Sunday, killing eight people and injuring more than 20.

    The explosion in Azaz, Aleppo province, occurred shortly before. after midnight as people shopped late during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

    The Observatory reported that “eight people were killed and 23 others wounded” when “a car bomb exploded in the middle of a popular market.”

    IS jihadists also killed six more soldiers this week “after they were captured” following a separate ambush on the road between Sukhna and Palmyra in Homs province, said the UK-based observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

    Since the beginning of the year, more than 200 soldiers and associated militants have been killed in IS attacks, ambushes and bombings in the Syrian desert, including in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor, Homs and Raqqa, the observatory said.< /p>

    Jihadist attacks have killed at least 37 civilians over the same period, according to the observatory, and government forces and associated militants have killed 24 IS members.

    Last week, an observer said the attacks ISIS in northern Syria killed people. at least 11 people were searching for desert truffles, a delicacy that commands a high price in the war-torn country.

    'Attacks intensify since November'

    Every year between February and April, hundreds of impoverished Syrians risk their lives to hunt for truffles in the Syrian desert, which is not only a jihadist sanctuary but also strewn with mines.

    A United Nations report published in January said IS's “combined strength” in Iraq and Syria “is estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters.”

    In Syria, IS has “intensified attacks since November,” the report said, adding that the central Badiya desert “served as a logistics and operations hub” for

    The observatory said that with its recent escalation, IS seeks to “show that it is capable of carrying out attacks despite losing” its territorial control five years ago.

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