ISIS extremists kill eight in Syria desert: Monitor

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ISIS extremists killed eight people, including two civilians, in an ambush on pro-government militiamen in Syria’s Badia desert, a war monitor reported Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack occurred on Wednesday evening as the militiamen were en route to search for a shepherd who had been kidnapped and subsequently killed by the ISIS members.

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The Observatory, a Britain-based monitor with sources in Syria, reported a death toll of eight, including “six members of the National Defence Forces and two sheep herders.”

ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a governate and launching a reign of terror.

It was defeated territorially in Syria in 2019, but its remnants still carry out deadly attacks -- particularly in the Badia desert -- and mainly targeting government loyalists and Kurdish-led fighters.

The desert runs from the outskirts of Damascus to the Iraqi border.

Last month, the Observatory said ISIS fighters had killed nearly 4,100 people in Syria since 2019 -- more than half of them in the Badia.

The United Nations in January said ISIS’s combined strength in Iraq and Syria was 3,000-5,000 fighters, with the Badia serving as a hub for the group in Syria.

Syria’s war has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more since it erupted in March 2011 with Damascus’s brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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