ISIS announced on January 15 that its fighters had ambushed a large convoy of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in a desert area to the south of Deir Ezzor’s city center.
In a statement released by the Amaq agency, the terrorist group claimed that fifteen Syrian service members, including high-ranking officers of the elite Republican Guard, were killed in the ambush.
“Islamic State fighters ambushed yesterday a force of the Republican Guard that was patrolling in the desert … When they entered the ambush, the fighters detonated explosive devices and targeted them with various types of weapons,” Amaq’s statement reads.
Photos released by Amaq revealed that the army also lost a BRDM-2 combat reconnaissance, patrol vehicle and a mini truck.
Pro-government activists acknowledged that nine personnel, including a senior officer, were killed in ISIS’ ambush. The casualties were identified as:
- Brigadier Ali Fakhro;
- Lieutenant Rami Zfor;
- Warrant Officer Khaldon Zahr al-Din;
- Corporal Mohammed al-Nish;
- Private Ottoman al-N’asan;
- Private Mohammed Ibrahim;
- Private Mu’az Tyiaui;
- Private Ward Qassim;
- Private Hussein Ibrahim.
The ambush was likely carried out by ISIS remnants in the Homs desert, which lays between western Deir Ezzor and eastern Homs.
In the last few months, ISIS stepped up its attacks against government forces in Deir Ezzor and Homs. The terrorist group appears to be attempting to establish a foothold in the two governorates, which link Syria’s eastern and central regions.