IS ambush kills 21 Syria regime fighters
30,000 flee; UN fears century’s ‘worst’ crisis
ANKARA, Sept 11: An ambush by the Islamic State jihadist group has killed 21 regime fighters in Syria's southern province of Sweida, a Britain-based war monitor said on Tuesday.
Eight jihadists were also killed in subsequent clashes in the area, which is the jihadists' last bastion in Sweida. State news agency SANA reported heavy clashes with IS in the area, adding that government aircraft and artillery "targeted hideouts and positions" held by the group.
Government forces have been fighting IS in Sweida's arid plains since jihadists carried out a wave of attacks in the mainly Druze province on July 25, killing 250 people. During their rampage, which targeted the provincial capital as well as rural areas, the jihadists also seized around 30 hostages, mostly women and their children.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on Russia and Iran to halt a looming "humanitarian disaster" in Idlib, saying Syrians there could not be left to the mercy of President Bashar al-Assad.
Violence in northwest Syria has displaced more than 30,000 people this month alone, the United Nations said Monday, warning that a looming assault could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe".
Idlib province and adjacent rural areas form the largest piece of territory still held by Syria's beleaguered rebels, worn down by a succession of government victories in recent months. -AFP