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Eight soldiers dead in latest Syrian conflict episode

1 min

In a chilling reminder of the persistent threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS), recent reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) have highlighted a surge in fatal attacks against Syrian soldiers. 

Despite being territorially defeated in March 2019 by a US-led international anti-jihadist coalition and Kurdish forces, ISIS has continued to operate through dispersed cells © Mena Today 

In a chilling reminder of the persistent threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS), recent reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) have highlighted a surge in fatal attacks against Syrian soldiers. 

Over the past few days, ISIS militants executed eight Syrian soldiers in a calculated ambush, bringing the death toll to fourteen soldiers in recent jihadist assaults. This resurgence of violence underscores the enduring capability of ISIS to inflict harm, despite their supposed territorial defeat in March 2019.

The soldiers were en route to the Syrian city of Deir Ez-Zor when they fell victim to the ambush in a desolate desert area, a stark representation of the dangerous unpredictability that characterizes the region. According to the SOHR, the execution of eight regime forces, including an officer, was part of a brutal demonstration of ISIS's refusal to relinquish its campaign of terror. 

Another separate ambush along the road between Al-Soukhna and Palmyre in the Homs province resulted in the death of six additional soldiers, further exemplifying the group's tactical persistence.

Despite being territorially defeated in March 2019 by a US-led international anti-jihadist coalition and Kurdish forces, ISIS has continued to operate through dispersed cells within the Syrian desert. These cells have been responsible for numerous deadly attacks, indicating a strategic adaptation to their changed circumstances. 

Since the beginning of the year, over 200 soldiers and affiliated fighters have fallen to ISIS attacks, ambushes, and explosives, particularly in the provinces of Deir Ez-Zor, Homs, and Raqqa.

The jihadist attacks have not only targeted military personnel but have also claimed the lives of at least 37 civilians in the same period. Meanwhile, governmental forces and affiliated fighters have managed to eliminate 24 ISIS members, showcasing an ongoing battle that sees no immediate end.

The economic desperation exacerbated by 13 years of war has led Syrians to hunt for valuable desert truffles, a pursuit that turned deadly last week when an ISIS attack claimed at least 11 lives. This incident highlights the group's indiscriminate violence and the vulnerability of civilians seeking livelihoods in these perilous regions.

A United Nations report published in January estimates the combined force of ISIS in Iraq and Syria to be between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters. The report further notes an intensification of ISIS attacks since November, with the vast Syrian desert of the Badia serving as a logistical and operational hub for the group.

As Syria grapples with severe economic crisis and the aftermath of a prolonged conflict, the resurgence of ISIS poses a grave threat to the fragile semblance of stability. 

The international community, along with local forces, faces the daunting task of countering the relentless operations of a group that, despite significant losses, continues to adapt and strike in the heart of Syria.

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