At least 15 pro-regime Shiite fighters were killed in a suicide blast carried out by Islamic State (ISIS) militants east of the ancient city of Palmyra, as fierce clashes continue near the oil-rich area, field sources said on Wednesday.
The death toll reached a total of 19 following 24 hours of ISIS attacks in the eastern countryside of central Homs province, which is a part of the Syrian desert known as the Badia region.
Meanwhile, clashes are ongoing near the village of Hmeimiya and the Shaer oil field.
Last week, regime forces seized full control of the town of Al-Sukhnah, some 50 kilometers northeast of Palmyra. the last major town in Homs province held by ISIS.
The town is also located some 50 kilometers from the provincial boundary of Deir-ez-Zor province, ISIS’ last major foothold in Syria and a primary target for the Syrian government.
ISIS has lost swaths of Syrian territory to separate campaigns being waged by government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia. The SDF is currently focused on capturing Raqqa from ISIS.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.