Militants Kill 38 in Southern Syria Attacks - Syrian Arab Republic

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Authorities chased and killed two other attackers there before they could also blow themselves up, state news agency SANA said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday advised Filipinos living in Syria to take necessary precautions after Islamic militants massacred more than 200 people in a series of attacks in the southern part of the country. The devastated city was covered in black and shops were closed during the day to mourn the mass deaths. It is populated mainly by Syria's minority Druze. ISIS said "soldiers of the caliphate" first attacked security positions and government targets in Suwayda city.

On Tuesday, a Syrian military source accused Israel of firing at one of its warplanes as it carried out operations against jihadists in southern Syria. "No government troops were in site".

In the eastern countryside of Sweida, some areas in the remote eastern countryside are under IS control. The group also has a small presence on the eastern edge of Sweida province, and in the desert in the adjacent Homs province.

An activist-operated Facebook page called Sweida News Network said numerous killed were shot in the head.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said 156 people were killed.

SNN also shared the names of at least 18 people abducted from one village, Shabki, majority women. The breakdown of the fatalities from the attacks was not immediately known. It triggered deadly clashes between pro-government fighters and residents who picked up weapons to defend their hometowns on one side, and IS militants on the other.

At least 270,000 people fled their homes in the region as the fighting continued, the United Nations said.

With the help of Russian air power, the Syrian army has been hitting Islamic State in a separate pocket further west, near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Fighting near the Golan Heights frontier is sensitive to Israel, which yesterday said it had used two missiles to bring down rockets launched in the battle between the Syrian army and the Islamic State.

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Islamic State lost almost all the territory it once held in Syria a year ago in separate offensives by the Russian-backed army and a USA -backed militia alliance.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011.

"The villages that were attacked were on edge last night, and all the men were on high alert", Zeina, 32, said on Thursday.

The death toll from attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Sweida and nearby villages in southwestern Syria has risen to at least 150.

It said dozens of IS militants were also killed in the clashes.

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