A large convoy of Syrian Army troops patrolling for ISIS fighters was ambushed by the terrorist group and in the heavy fighting that followed 26 Syrian government troops and 11 ISIS fighters were killed. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based watchdog of the Syrian Civil War, reported that the fighting took place in the Al-Mayadeen desert in Syria’s eastern Deir Ez-Zor province located about 280 miles northeast of the capital of Damascus. 

SOHR reported that seven of the dead troops were Syrian army soldiers of the 17th Division; 19 were militiamen from the pro-regime and pro-Russia militia “Liwaa Al-Quds.”

Oliver Harper, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), confirmed that the fighting took place and involved the Syrian troops as well as militiamen from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Brigades.

The ambush underscores the harsh reality that ISIS has once again regrouped, rearmed, and is making inroads against the Syrian regime. According to SOHR and other media sources, ISIS has conducted over 100 attacks in northeastern Syria in the last month. In one attack, ISIS terrorists attacked a bus and killed 40 civilians. 

The BBC reported that a Syrian researcher, who works for a non-governmental organization and goes by the pseudonym “Ali,” has been compiling statistics on the attacks. He says the violence is taking many forms: “Beheadings, bombings, motorcycle suicide, assassination, and kidnappings — and we’re just talking about a small area east of Deir ez-Zor city.”

ISIS fighters come into the affected areas after sundown when Syrian troops and the militias have left claiming they don’t have the numbers to secure the areas. ISIS terrorists then target any civilians that they identify as working for the Syrian government or the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

In 2019 SDF troops had routed ISIS from its strongholds. That had prompted former President Trump to declare that “100 percent” of Syrian territory held by ISIS had been recaptured. Yet, allowed to fester, the group has once again resurfaced and is as deadly as ever against the civilian population. 

In 2017, after SDF fighters had taken Raqqa, hundreds of the most notorious ISIS terrorists and about 3,500 of their family members were safely allowed to leave in a massive convoy under the eyes of American and British coalition troops. The secret deal stipulated that ISIS fighters were only allowed to take personal weapons with them. Nevertheless, truck drivers hired to haul the ISIS people out reported that many trucks were laden with weapons, ammunition. There were also suicide bombs wired to each vehicle and many members, including women and children, were wearing suicide vests. 

The fear was that by allowing them to safely evacuate, they’d regroup and return. And not only have they returned but so have their deadly methods. The UN believes that there are about 10,000 ISIS fighters still in Syria. 

In other news, six years after he was beheaded and hung upside down in Palmyra, the remains of Khaled al-Asaad, archaeologist and head of antiquities at the UNESCO site of Palmyra, have reportedly been found. Al-Asaad was killed for trying to defend the UNESCO heritage site.

ISIS had brutally killed the then-82-year-old scholar because he had refused to reveal the whereabouts of precious antiquities. ISIS members destroyed or defaced much of the historic sites at Palmyra, including a Tetrapylon and part of a Roman amphitheater. The group sold many antiquities on the black market to finance its war in Syria and Iraq.