BEIRUT - At least 190 people have been killed since Saturday in clashes between the Islamic State, or IS, and government forces in the area surrounding the northeastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, reported Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or SOHR, Monday night.
SOHR said at least 120 government troops and militia loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime have died since the jihadists launched an offensive on Jan. 16 to seize areas still under government control in Deir al-Zour.
The casualties include at least 40 Damascus loyalists who were killed by the fundamentalists in the settlement of Al Bagilya, to the north of Deir al-Zour, which was captured by the IS.
The IS, in turn, lost 70 militants since the attack began, of which 28 died carrying out suicide attacks with car bombs and explosive belts.
According to the Observatory, since Saturday, the IS has taken over Al Bagilya, the Al Saiqa military camp and some arms stockpiles in Ayash from government forces, although activists in the region told EFE all arms depots are controlled by the radicals.
Three days ago, the Observatory said the jihadists had killed 85 civilians, and abducted over 400 people from Al Bagilya.
It added 50 soldiers and allied militia members were also killed during clashes on Saturday and Sunday.
Official news agency Sana pegged the number of deaths owing to the IS offensive at 300, including many women and children, mostly family members of soldiers posted at Deir al-Zour.
However, activists, including Head of the Deir al Zur 24 group Omar Abu Leila, and Syrian Network for Human Rights Mohamed al Jalif, told EFE the number of dead was lower and termed the news of kidnapping of over 400 people as false.
Leila added only 18 soldiers were killed by the IS in Al Bagilya since Saturday.
Al Jalif, who has relatives in the area, noted there were barely any civilians left when the IS entered, as they moved to western parts of the province or to the Al Yura town in Deir al-Zour which is under the control of the government forces.
He stressed there were not more than 400 people in Al Bagilya, and a majority of them were members of the pro-government National Defense Forces.