Syrian army retakes villages after deadly Daesh attack - monitor
20 May, 2017, 00:20 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
Under siege in other parts of Syria, Islamic State forces staged a surprise attack Thursday on two government-held villages in central Syria's Hama province that killed more than 50 people, according to media reports and sources in the region.
Attempts to stop the convoy included a call to the Russians - who are working with the Syrian regime - then a "show of force" in the skies above the vehicles, followed by warning shots.
Hostilities have intensified in that area, as supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad try to advance and take control of Maskanah town, in the eastern end of Aleppo, and other surrounding areas.
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Syrian delegation leader Bashar al-Ja'afari said the process was the government's "own initiative", but he insisted that Damascus "will not accept any interference".
That battle has already caused clashes between government forces and Syrian rebels and raised concern of pro-government militias making a bid for controlling the border with Iraq.
SANA earlier said IS fighters had killed 20 people in the village before the army and allied militia drove them away.
The attack targeted Hama's regime-held villages of Aqareb and al-Mabujah.
The head of the National Hospital in Salamiyeh, Dr. Noufal Safar, said it received 52 bodies, including 11 women and 17 children.
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Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said, despite the strikes, the United States was "not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops".
"They were brought with all forms of deformations but majority appear to have died as a result of gunfire", he told the AP news agency.
Rami Razzouk, a coroner at the hospital where the bodies were inspected, said the children brought in were mostly dismembered while the majority of men had died as a result of shelling or heavy machine-gun fire.
The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said the group captured Aqareb al-Safi and Mabouja.
It's not unusual for ISIS to kill Shi'te civilians in general, considering them both religious apostates and enemies of the Caliphate.
The Observatory's director Abdel Rahman said that "IS" lost 15 fighters of its own.
The Sunni extremist group has slaughtered thousands of Shia and other opponents in Syria and Iraq, often boasting about the killings and circulating photos and videos of them online.
In March 2015, the group killed dozens of people and kidnapped some 50 civilians in an attack there.
The Observatory said Thursday's attack was the most violent so far this year by Islamic State along the road.
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