Seventeen members of the pro-Iran Liwa Fatemiyoun militia were killed and wounded in an attack carried out by the ISIS terrorist group in the Homs countryside in central Syria.
A source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militants, who are affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, were killed in an ISIS ambush on Monday night.
The ambush targeted a Liwa Fatemiyoun military position in the Doubayat gas field area that is a stronghold of the militia.
Eight members of the militia were killed in the attack. Nine others were wounded and they were taken to a field hospital in Palmyra for treatment.
Groups affiliated with the IRGC in Palmyra attempted to dispatch military reinforcements to the site of the attack, but it was targeted by another ISIS ambush along the road connecting Plamyra to al-Sukhna region.
This forced Russian jets to intervene. They carried out over 20 strikes against ISIS in the area.
An opposition activist in the city of Salamiyah said ISIS has increased its activity in the Syrian desert in Hama, Homs and central parts of the country in recent weeks. It has staged surprise attacks against IRGC positions and regime convoys in the desert (Badia).
Vehicles transporting pro-Iran militants, of various nationalities, cross Salamiyah on a daily basis headed towards the Hama desert to reinforce positions there, he revealed.
Several pro-Iran militants have been killed in ISIS attacks in recent days in regions in eastern Hama. Convoys transporting regime fighters, including officers, have also been targeted by the extremists. Thirteen regime forces were killed and five others were captured in one attack.
The regime and pro-Iran militias, backed by Russian air cover, have launched a large-scale operation to crackdown on ISIS remnants in the Syrian Badia in Hama and Homs, extending to the southern and eastern parts of the Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces in the east.
Despite these efforts, the operation has not curbed ISIS’ renewed activity. The group has resorted to ambushes and surprise attacks. Over 115 regime loyalists, including Iranians and Afghan mercenaries, have been killed in ISIS attacks in recent months.