The Syrian military is preparing to push out remaining ISIS terrorist fighters, who still control a small piece of territory in the south.
ISIS has ramped up its violence as its forces dwindle. Last month ISIS killed more than 200 civilians and abducted more than 30 people, mostly women and children in Syria’s southeastern Suwayda Province, Fox News reported. The attack is considered the deadliest to hit the province. Most of the victims were of the Druze ethnic minority, who are about 700,000 in number.
The extreme bloodshed is presumed to be an effort by ISIS to force an exchange of their captives for detained ISIS terrorists and to force negotiations for ISIS to have a way to get to other parts of Syria without resistance, Fox reported. Russia is reportedly involved in the negotiations to free some of the hostages ISIS captured. ISIS kidnapped and beheaded a 19-year-old a week ago.
In the last few days, U.S.-led coalition forces conducted 15 strikes on ISIS targets near the border with Iraq. The Syrian regime also launched airstrikes against ISIS forces in Suwayda, and local reports indicate the regime is deploying ground troops to the same region, according to Fox.
A U.S. Department of Defense news release describes strikes against ISIS targets by Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve between July 30 and Aug. 5, in which joint forces conducted 20 strikes in 27 engagements. Strikes took place in both Syria and Iraq. Targets in Syria included ISIS vehicles, supply routes, an explosives factory, and a command-and-control center.