CAIRO – At least 67 people were killed on Thursday, including 15 civilians, in an attack by the Islamic State terror organization against positions of the Syrian government forces in the north-eastern province of Hama, according to a British-based war monitor.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) noted that among the dead civilians there were four women and five children, and that there were 27 casualties in the government ranks, while ten bodies have not been identified.
Earlier, the SOHR reported that 15 radical fighters lost their lives in the attack, where IS conquered positions of its opponents in the areas of al-Mabuja and Aqareb al-Safia, in the northeast of Hama.
The offensive began at dawn against the two towns, located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the city of al-Salamiyah.
Amaq news agency, linked to IS, announced on Telegram that the extremists took control of al-Mabuja and Aqareb al-Safia, both belonging to the Alawi majority, a sect of which Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is a member.
However, this information has not been confirmed by any other source.
Previously, the official Syrian news agency SANA had announced that army units, backed by the National Defense Forces (pro-government militias), repelled an IS attack against Aqareb al-Safia.
The source stressed that the extremists tried to infiltrate the town from the south, but were stopped by pro-government forces.
This IS offensive coincides with an attack by Syrian government forces against radicals in the neighboring province of Aleppo.