Experts say that militants linked to the Islamic State terror group appear to be planning more deadly attacks in Syria this year.
The assessment comes after an increase in IS activities in recent weeks, including two strikes claimed by the group against its foes in the war-torn country’s eastern and central regions.
Late Sunday, five Syrian government soldiers were killed, and 20 others wounded when IS militants attacked their military bus on a highway in Syria’s desert region, the state-run SANA news agency reported on Monday.
IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh, reportedly used missile artillery in the strike that targeted the Syrian military convoy.
On the same day, the extremist group claimed responsibility for an attack on a checkpoint controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
An SDF official confirmed the attack to local media but said there were no casualties on their side.
“This could be a slow buildup” for the militant group in the coming months, Colin Clarke, senior research fellow at the New York-based Soufan Center, told VOA.
IS “is a group that is highly opportunistic. They’re going to look to exploit the missteps and mistakes of other governments in the region,” he said.