The Islamic State group has killed nine pro-regime fighters in one day in eastern Syria, a war monitor said Thursday, the latest in a spate of attacks in the area.  According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring organization with a wide network of sources on the ground, the nine were among 30 Syrian soldiers and allied fighters killed in IS attacks this week alone.  The “fierce clashes” since Wednesday between regime forces and IS in a remote area of Raqqa province, in the country’s east, also killed seven jihadi fighters, the observatory said.  The fighting followed an ambush, claimed by IS, against a bus carrying fighters from the regular army and allied militia on the desert road linking the cities of Raqqa and Homs.  An attack on Monday, one of the deadliest of its kind this year, left at least 15 dead according to the observatory.  The monitor also said that on Wednesday, another four soldiers were killed in an IS ambush near Dumayr military airport, east of Damascus, and that two more were killed earlier this week in the Raqqa region.  IS’s once sprawling self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria was defeated in March 2019 by U.S.-backed local forces. It has not held fixed positions since then.  But it has continued to carry out guerrilla-style attacks against regime and Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria, as well as against government and allied troops in Iraq. 

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