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Executive Summary for August 10th

We review the key developments in Syria, including the deaths of more than two dozen pro-government fighters in ISIS attacks in eastern Homs, continued government shelling in eastern Damascus and reports that 17 Indonesian nationals who had joined ISIS have left Syria.

Published on Aug. 10, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

ISIS Kills Dozens of Syrian Troops in Homs Desert

Counterattacks by the so-called Islamic State on government positions in a desert region east of Homs have killed dozens of Syrian troops and allied fighters, a war monitor reported Wednesday.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that at least 39 Syrian troops, including three senior officers, have been killed this week by car bombs and land mines planted by ISIS in several positions in the eastern Homs desert, including the town of al-Sukhna, which was purportedly captured by the Syrian government.

Another 25 pro-government fighters were injured in the attacks, according to SOHR.

The heightened ISIS attacks on government positions in the Homs desert come roughly one week after the Syrian government announced that it had captured the town of al-Sukhna, the last major ISIS bastion in Homs province.

The group is likely using land mines and rigged vehicles to slow down pro-government advances toward the militant stronghold of Deir Ezzor, which lies some 30 miles (50km) away from al-Sukhna.

Casualties Mount as Airstrikes Pound Eastern Ghouta

At least five people were killed and 10 others wounded by government shelling on the eastern suburbs of the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The attack on the town of Kafr Batna is the latest in a string of government offensives on the last rebel enclave in Damascus.

Shelling and airstrikes on the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of the capital have increased since Monday and the bombardment is at its heaviest since the government launched an offensive to reclaim the region two months ago.

The monitoring group said that government forces also targeted the districts of Arbin, Douma, Ain Terma and Jobar with heavy artillery attacks on Wednesday. No death toll was immediately reported.

Indonesians Fleeing ISIS Leave Syria

A group of 17 Indonesian nationals who had joined the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa left Syria this week, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

The group, which included men, women and children, were handed over to representatives of their country on Tuesday at a border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi frontier after they had asked to be sent back home.

Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the director of Indonesian citizen protection at the country’s foreign ministry, told the AP that the Indonesian nationals were not formally ISIS fighters – a portion had spent time in ISIS jails in Syria or in other isolated conditions. The group also includes teenagers and three young children, according to Iqbal.

The Indonesian group had previously fled Raqqa, aided by a third party, on June 10.

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