ISIS militants killed on Thursday at least 18 Syrian regime forces following a surprise attack launched on several military positions in the central Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-regime fighters backed by Russian air strikes were battling off the militants on the outskirts of the desert town of Al-Sukhna in Homs province.
“ISIS has captured houses in the city of Al-Sukhna in the Homs desert after fierce battles with regime forces and loyalists,” it said.
The watchdog said the attack was accompanied by an exchange of fire between both parties while Russian jets pounded frontlines and other positions in the desert area.
The air raids and clashes killed 11 ISIS militants, the Britain-based monitor said.
Syrian regime forces recaptured Al-Sukhna from ISIS in 2017.
Thursday's attack was the deadliest in the area since December, when ISIS militants attacked an army garrison in a gas facility east of Homs city, killing four civilians and 13 troops or militiamen, the Syrian Observatory said.
US-backed forces had expelled the militants from their last patch of territory in eastern Syria a year ago. However, ISIS militants still retain a presence in the vast Badia desert stretching across the country through Homs province and eastwards to the Iraqi border, and continue to carry out deadly attacks.
The Observatory said that since late March 24, it has documented the death of at least 410 members of regime forces and loyalists of Syrian and non-Syrian citizens, including at least two Russians.
It added that 75 members of Iranian-backed militias of non-Syrian citizens were killed in ISIS attacks, and ambushes in the western Euphrates, and the desert of Deir Ezzor, Homs and Sweida.
Meanwhile, military sources said that the Russian police sent Thursday new reinforcements to its bases in the Qamishli airport in the Hasaka province.
The sources said that a convoy of around 20 Russian vehicles and tens of soldiers entered the airport, two days after crossing the M4 highway, despite the presence of US forces along the area stretching from Tal Tamer to Qamishli.