Over 50 killed in clashes between Syrian regime, IS
Fighting and Russian air strikes in the deserts of Homs province since late Thursday have claimed the lives of 20 pro-regime fighters and 31 IS militants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The fighting started in the night of Thursday to Friday with a jihadist assault on regime positions" near the town of Al-Sukhna, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
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IS militants have retained a roving presence in Syria's vast Badiyat Al-Sham desert, despite losing their last shred of territory last year. They regularly carry out attacks there.
IS declared a cross-border "caliphate" in large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but several military campaigns against it chipped away at that proto-state and eventually led to its territorial demise.
Syria's conflict has killed more than 500,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal suppression of protests against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
Since then, world powers and Islamist extremists have intervened, and the situation has evolved into a complex war.