Pocket battles in Syria are deadly for civilians

Daesh is losing ground in the war-torn country. But the terrorist group continues to target civilians as it fights to retain control of territory.

Photo by: (AFP)
Photo by: (AFP)

An attack in central Hama province targeted villages where most residents belong to the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam.

More than 60 Daesh militants and regime soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours in ongoing fighting in the eastern countryside of Aleppo in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday.

Regime forces and their allies are advancing on the town of Makanah.

Separately, Deash on Thursday attacked villages near the only useable road that links the regime-controlled cities of Aleppo and Homs.

SOHR said 52 people, civilians and fighters on both sides, were killed and dozens wounded. At least 25 of the dead were civilians, including five children, and three of them died in execution-style killings, the Britain-based war monitor said.

Regime-run SANA news agency said Daesh killed 20 people in the village of Aqarib al-Safi, east of Hama city, before regime forces and allied militia repulsed the attack, reversing earlier Daesh gains.

In 2015, Daesh killed 46 civilians in the nearby al-Mabouja village, SOHR said.

Fighting a losing battle

Daesh has recently lost large swathes of territory in Syria, mainly in the north, to separate military campaigns of Russia-backed regime forces and to opposition militias, backed by the United States, Turkey and their regional allies.

For more than four months, regime forces, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah, and Russian jets, have been waging a major ground offensive in northern Syria and have retaken from Daesh dozens of towns and villages. Separately, US and Turkey-backed opposition militias have advanced on Daesh, and consolidated gains south of the Turkish border.

Syria's conflict, now in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people. The multi-sided war has drawn in global powers, made half the country's population homeless, and allowed for extremist and militant groups to expand and entrench themselves inside Syrian territory.

TRTWorld and agencies