Claimed photo of the Assad regime’s regional military commander, killed in eastern Syria by an Islamic State ambush on August 27, 2020

Resurgent Islamic State fighters have inflicted another blow on Assad regime forces, killing a regional militia commander and about 12 of his men in eastern Syria on Thursday morning.

The National Defense Forces commander, for northern and western Deir ez-Zor Province, and his unit were lured into a village, near the road from Deir ez-Zor city to Raqqa, which had been raided by ISIS. A large number of Islamic State fighters were still hidden and ambushed the soldiers.

The ambush is the latest in a series of deadly attack by Islamic State cells on regime forces across central and eastern Syria.

Last week, the NDF commander of the Mayadin sector of Deir ez-Zor Province was killed by an improvised explosive device. In early August, ISIS targeted regime positions near Salamiyah in Hama Province, in the Badiya al-Sham region in Homs Province, and near a major highway in Deir ez-Zor, killing several pro-Assad militiamen.

Assad regime outlets claimed this week that Russian and regime bombing and shelling killed “327 militants” and destroyed “134 shelters, 17 observation points, 7 stores of ammunition and 5 underground warehouses” from August 18 to 24.

Following its offensives in 2014, the Islamic State held much of northern and eastern Syria as well as one-third of neighboring Iraq. However, it was eroded by a combination of attacks by Turkish-backed anti-Assad forces; the US-supported, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces; and Russia airstrikes alongside regime ground units.

The SDF pushed ISIS out of its Syrian “capital”, Raqqa, in 2017 and took the last ISIS village, near the Iraq border, in March 2019.