ISIS strikes back hard in Syria

ISIS strikes back hard in Syria

BEIRUT (APP): Attacks by Islamic State group extremists on Monday near Palmyra in central Syria killed at least 20 members of the regime's forces, a monitor said.

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"At least 20 regime forces and pro-government fighters were killed in an IS attack on Tayfur airport in Homs province. Two high-ranking Syrian officers were killed when a regime helicopter was shot down near the airport," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The head of the Britain-based monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman, said IS was using "successive attacks" to wear out regime forces, and that clashes were ongoing.

The extremists retook Palmyra in central Syria on December 11, just eight months after the army backed by Russia drove them out.

On Thursday, US-led coalition aircraft destroyed heavy weaponry seized by the extremists when they retook the city, the coalition said.

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Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its recapture by IS gave the extremists a propaganda boost as they face assaults on two of their key strongholds -- Raqa in Syria and Iraq's second city Mosul.