East Syria fighting kills more than 200 in three days: monitor

BEIRUT: A major attack by the IS group in eastern Syria has killed 92 US-backed forces in three days while 51 civilians also died in the fighting, a war monitor said on Monday.

It was the highest death toll the jihadist group has inflicted on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a single offensive, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“It’s the largest number of SDF fighters killed (by IS) in a single battle since it was founded” in 2015, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Observatory said 61 jihadists were also killed in the fighting.

On Friday, around 500 IS fighters took advantage of poor weather to punch out of their very last bastion in eastern Syria and launch a massive assault on the SDF.

The fighting was at its most intense on Friday and Saturday but more bodies were recovered on Sunday.

The jihadists have mostly retreated to their earlier positions following an SDF fightback and air strikes by the US-led coalition, the Observatory said.

The had been mounting a fierce defence of the last rump of what was once a sprawling self-declared “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of local sources, also said 51 civilians were killed over the same period of time.

Among them were 19 children, Abdel Rahman said, adding that most of the victims were believed to be relatives of IS fighters.

The SDF, an alliance of fighters from the main Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units and anti-jihadist Arab fighters, rarely releases full casualty figures.

It did not provide a death for the assault IS launched on Friday.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]