Two Islamic State suicide bombers killed in Syria amid group’s resurgence

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The United States military said Sunday that its Syrian allies had repelled an attack by the Islamic State. The group is resurgent and has carried out many attacks in Syria in the past few months.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed two IS suicide bombers in Hasakah in the northeast. The SDF ambushed the would-be bombers before they could detonate their explosives, CENTCOM said in a tweet.

The SDF apparently did not comment on the incident.

Background: The Islamic State lost its formal territory in Syria in 2019, but is still active in the country. IS has a very strong presence in the large desert region known as the Badia in central and eastern Syria. The US continues to support the Kurdish-led SDF in its fight against IS.

Why it’s important: Attacks on the Islamic State have been increasing in Syria for the past few months. Al-Monitor contributor Khaled al-Khateb from Aleppo reported in October on Islamic State bombing businesses in northeastern Syria demanding money, for example.

The following is a list of notable attacks in Syria attributed to IS in 2023:

  • February 17: IS killed 53 people picking truffles east of Homs in central Syria, official news outlet SANA reported.
  • March 9: IS killed three people and stole hundreds of Hama sheep in central Syria, SANA and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
  • March 23: IS kills 15 people picking truffles in a knife attack, according to the observatory.

The US has a small military presence in Syria which is mainly aimed at targeting IS and bolstering the SDF.

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