- More than 387,000 people have been killed and millions forced from their homes since Syria's civil war broke out in 2011.
BEIRUT: Islamic State group fighters killed at least eight regime loyalists in eastern Syria on Monday, the latest in a series of deadly jihadist attacks, a Britain-based war monitor reported.
Five Syrian soldiers and three pro-regime militia fighters were among those killed in the IS attack on one of their positions in a desert region of Deir Ezzor province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Eleven others were wounded, some of them critically, meaning the death toll could climb, the war monitor added.
IS in 2014 overran large parts of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a cross-border "caliphate" before multiple offensives in the two countries led to its territorial defeat.
The group was overcome in Syria in March 2019, but sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in the vast Badia desert spanning from central Syria eastwards to the border with Iraq.
Since the start of the year, IS sleeper cells have upped their attacks on regime forces, killing at least 44, including soldiers and foreign paramilitaries, the Observatory says.
Among these, on Saturday, IS gunmen killed seven regime loyalists in the Deir Ezzor town of Al-Shola.
Another 15 Syrian troops have gone missing after an IS attack on regime forces in the central province of Hama on Friday, according to the Observatory.
Their bus was found torched at the weekend, but there was no sign of the men who are likely dead or held captive by jihadists, the monitor added.
Syrian state media did not report the incident.
In a separate incident last week, the Observatory said IS gunmen in central Syria had ambushed a bus carrying government soldiers as well as fuel tankers in another part of Hama province.
The ambush resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers, four allied fighters and three civilians, the Observatory said.
IS said it was behind a December 30 bus ambush in Deir Ezzor province, which killed at least 39 Syrian soldiers.
More than 387,000 people have been killed and millions forced from their homes since Syria's civil war broke out in 2011.