Dozens killed in failed ISIS counterattack in east Syria: Monitor

ISIS made an aborted attempt to retake a village from US-backed forces in eastern Syria Thursday, a monitor said, leaving 50 fighters dead on both sides.

The failed assault came a day after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are backed by the US-led coalition, took the village of Baghouz from ISIS.

On Thursday, the group launched a counterattack including at least three suicide bombers wearing explosive belts against SDF fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Sixteen SDF and 34 ISIS fighters were killed in the assault aimed at retaking the village near the Iraqi border, the Britain-based monitor said.

A further “21 ISIS fighters were taken prisoner as they tried to open up a gap” in defenses and make an escape towards Iraq, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The SDF have since September been whittling away at a pocket of territory on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

The latest advance by the US-backed group has left the last diehard ISIS fighters holed up in scattered farmhouses near the Euphrates.

Thousands of people, mostly women and children, have fled into SDF-held territory in recent days, according to the Observatory.

ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a “caliphate”, but they have since lost almost all of it to various offensives.

The group has however retained a presence in the vast Badia desert stretching across Syria, and have continued to claim attacks in SDF-held territory and abroad.

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