Suspected Islamic State (IS) militants reportedly killed 11 Syrian government soldiers on the M20 highway between Al-Sokhna (Homs province) and Al-Shula (Deir Al-Zor province) on Thursday, May 7. Local sources have stated that the casualty count may rise as more information becomes available. As of Thursday evening (local time), no group has claimed responsibility for the incident. A similar attack in Al-Sokhna on Thursday, April 9, resulted in 27 government forces killed, as well as the capture of areas of the town by the militants.
Deir Al-Zor province has seen a rise in IS activity in recent months, with 73 percent of IS attacks in March taking place in the province. Hasakah and Raqqa provinces saw 16 and 10 percent of IS-linked attacks over the same period, respectively.
Further attacks are likely as government forces continue operations against IS militants in Deir Al-Zor province.
To date, the Syrian conflict involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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