ISIS fighters ambushed on July 18 a unit of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) west of the city of al-Mayadin in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside.
Pro-opposition sources claimed that nine service members of the army were killed and many others were injured in the surprise attack.
Al-Masdar News, a pro-government blog, confirmed that several SAA personnel were killed in the attack. However, it revealed that reinforcements from the army were able to kill many of the attackers, forcing them to retreat.
The attack was likely launched from the Homs desert, which lays between western Deir Ezzor and eastern Homs. ISIS reportedly control over 4,000km2 in the heart of the desert.
In the last few months, the remaining ISIS fighters in the Homs desert stepped up their attacks on the SAA’s positions in western Deir Ezzor and eastern Homs. However, they have failed to capture any key area, so far.