Coordinated attacks in the Syrian province of Sweida killed at least 246 person on Wednesday, more than half of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
ISIS claimed responsibility saying it had carried out the seemingly coordinated attacks, which included suicide bombings, in several villages and the provincial capital, also called Sweida.
Earlier the director of health in the southwestern province told the pro-government Sham FM that: “Three bombers with explosive belts targeted Sweida city alone, while the other blasts hit villages to the north and east,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, said the group then followed up with further attacks in the province.
Despite pro-government forces ousting ISIS from urban centers in eastern Syria last year, surprise raids in recent months have killed dozens of regime and allied fighters.
The regime of President Bashar Al-Assad controls almost all of Sweida province.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported a series of suicide blasts and other attacks in the southern province.
Al-Ikhbariya said one of the attackers hit at a vegetable market in the city just after 5 a.m., a busy time for the merchants at the start of their day.
The bomber drove through the market on a motorcycle and blew himself up, the TV station said. The second attacker hit in another busy square in the city. Two other attackers blew themselves up when they were chased by authorities.
The city of Sweida has largely been spared most of the violence that Syrian cities have witnessed in the years since the conflict started in 2011.
For the southern offensive, government forces redeployed troops from Sweida province last month to attack rebels and ISIS-affiliate militants in the nearby provinces of Daraa and Quneitra.
The government is now in control of Daraa, but continues to battle the ISIS-affiliate militants in Quneitra.