Syria's government-held city of Sweida on Thursday buried dozens of its inhabitants who were killed a day before in coordinated assaults by Islamic State militants who overran villages and staged multiple suicide attacks inside the city, residents and witnesses said.
The intense violence is unusual for Sweida, a southwestern city in a province of the same name that has been spared some of the harshest ravages of Syria's long-running civil war.
There had been no support from Syrian pro-government forces, she said.
The suicide bomb blasts inside the provincial capital, also called Sweida, were apparently timed to coincide with attacks on villages in the eastern countryside, creating mayhem across the province.
President Bashar al-Assad's forces are now fighting to capture the last-remaining rebel villages in the southern part of the Golan Heights.
The southern province of Sweida is largely held by the government, but IS retains a presence in a northeastern desert region. At least 45 jihadists died carrying it out, the Observatory said.
Israel's army earlier said it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet that had infiltrated Israeli airspace, risking another escalation around the sensitive buffer zone.
The Britain-based Observatory said three suicide attackers set off booby-trapped belts in Sweida city, as other blasts hit villages to the north and east.
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The army has also been fighting against IS in the northeastern countryside of Sweida, as part of the Battle of the South, which includes battles against the rebels and IS in the countryside of Daraa, Sweida, and Quneitra.
IS later claimed responsibility for the attacks via the group's outlet on the messaging app Telegram. Community leaders in Sweida took a firm position against participating in the war, resisting enrolling their sons in the army to avoid revenge attacks.
The army and villagers regained control of a hill and broke a brief siege of another nearby village after clashes, Ikhbariyah said.
The Syrian military, backed by Russian forces, recently launched an operation to drive rebel from their remaining strongholds in the south-west.
The Syrian government condemned the move, describing it as a "criminal operation" by Israel and others.
The Islamic State took credit for carrying out the attacks, the BBC reported.
Since its offensive started in June, President Bashar al Assad's forces have retaken territories controlled by the rebels along the Golan Heights frontier and are now fighting militants in the country's southern tip.