Clashes between regime troops and the Islamic State in eastern Syria's Deir Ezzor province Sunday resulted in the deaths of 58 IS militants, according to Syrian state news.
SANA reported the clashes took place in the towns of Nasib Daghim, al-Zira'a and Hwejat al- Mara'iayeh, and that Syrian troops destroyed an armored vehicle, a rocket launcher pad and three machine-gun equipped vehicles known as "technicals."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group monitoring Syria's civil war, on Sunday said regime forces were battling IS militants in the vicinity of an airbase in the Deir Ezzor countryside, while both sides exchanged shellfire in the provincial capital.
Xinhua news agency reported IS fighters have repeatedly attempted to storm the Deir Ezzor airbase, considered a stronghold of Syrian troops in the area, including in September, when the group said it killed 90 Syrian soldiers after capturing a nearby position.
Since early last month, the Syrian military, bolstered by support from Russian airstrikes, has conducted a countrywide offensive to reverse gains made by rebel forces throughout the year.
SOHR reported Sunday airstrikes suspected of being carried out by Russia killed one person and injured several others in the ancient ruins of Palmyra, in Homs province. IS forces captured the site and the adjacent town of Tadmur from the Syrian military in May.
The Russian Ministry of Defense on Friday said it conducted 81 combat sorties over the previous day against up to 263 militant positions in the Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Lattakia, Raqqah, Hama, Homs and Deir Ezzor provinces.
The statement said a Russian Su-24 jet destroyed a large area fortified by IS troops as well as a tank, mortars and an anti-aircraft battery near Palmyra, while a Russian Su-34 bomber eliminated a training camp in Deir Ezzor province used by militants with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate.
Meanwhile, SOHR reports, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed group of Arab, Assyrian and Kurdish rebel cells, continued battling IS forces in the al-Hasakah province, northeast of Deir Ezzor.
The SDF announced an offensive against IS in al-Hasakah late last month, and, with help from US-led coalition airstrikes, was last week reported to have seized multiple farms, villages and hills from IS forces in the province.
US Central Command on Friday said the day prior, it conducted two airstrikes in al-Hasakah province, hitting two IS tactical units and destroying four fighting positions used by the militants.
By Fred Lambert
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