East Syria car bomb kills at least 18

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A car bombing in eastern Syria on Friday killed at least 18 people including 11 members of a US-backed force that has fought the Islamic State group, a war monitor said.

“A car bomb went off in front of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ base in Al-Bsayra town in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It killed “a commander and ten other personnel, as well as seven civilians, including three children,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but IS has claimed similar attacks in the past.

IS in 2014 declared a cross-border “caliphate” in Syria and neighboring Iraq, but has since lost most of its territory to various military offensives.

In Deir Ezzor province, the jihadists have been pushed back by two separate offensives: one by the SDF along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, and another by Syrian regime forces on the western bank.

Despite its losses, IS still maintains a presence in villages in the Deir Ezzor’s east.

In May, the SDF announced the final stage of its battle to expel IS from its last desert holdouts in eastern Syria.

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