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AFP
July 11, 2018
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Suicide car blast kills 8 fighters in south Syria

World

AFP
July 11, 2018

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BEIRUT: A suspected militant suicide car bomb attack in southern Syria on Tuesday killed at least eight fighters, including government and rebel forces, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The explosion hit Zaizun, a village in the western countryside of Daraa province which rebels agreed in recent days to hand over to regime control. "Eight regime and opposition fighters who recently reconciled were killed in a suicide car bomb attack targeting a military position in Zaizun," said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Observatory.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the village lies near a sliver of southern territory controlled by a faction linked to the Islamic State group. Abdel Rahman said it was "likely" that the IS branch, known as Jaish Khaled bin Walid, was responsible. "This is the first suicide attack targeting regime forces since the beginning of their operations in Daraa," he told AFP. Backed by Russia, Syrian troops began a bombing blitz of Daraa province on June 19 that killed dozens of civilians and displaced more than 320,000 people.

The onslaught came to an end on Friday, when Moscow brokered a deal with rebels for them to surrender their weapons and hand over towns to government troops. The agreement also provides for safe passage for thousands of opposition fighters and civilians to rebel territory further north, although those transfers have not yet begun. The regime is now in control of around 80 percent of Daraa province, while rebels hold around 15 percent, according to the Observatory.

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