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Dozens dead in string of ISIS attacks in Syria

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Syrian rebels watch for pro-government fighters in western Daraa province on July 10. A suicide car bombing that same day killed 14 fighters from pro-government and rebel ranks in an attack on a south Syrian village claimed by the Islamic State group. (Ahmad al-Msalam /AFP/Getty Images)

A series of suicide attacks carried out in southern Syria by the Islamic State has reportedly killed dozens.

What are the details?

Initially, the Islamic State took advantage of the instability caused by the more than seven-year-long Syrian civil war to establish its caliphate in 2014. But repeated attacks by both Syrian government forces and U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters have slowly pushed them back until their territory is a fraction of what it once was.

But this latest attacks proves that they can still do some damage.

According to Syrian state news outlets, 38 people were killed in attacks Wednesday, which included a suicide bombing at a vegetable market. However, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the number at 56 people, including 28 pro-government fighters, and the town's health authority said that the number of dead was as high as 150CBS News noted that a discrepancy like this is not uncommon so soon after an attack has taken place.

State news also said three Islamic State militants were stopped by Syrian security forces before they could carry out their attacks. Two of these were killed and one was arrested.

Where did these attacks take place?

These latest attacks occurred in the city of Sweida, near Syria's southern border with Jordan. This region is inhabited by members of the Druze faith, a religion which broke off of Shiite Islam a millennium ago and also incorporates aspects of Christianity, Gnosticism, and Greek philosophy. Druze adherents also believe in reincarnation, outlaw polygamy, and allow women to become religious leaders.

Last month, the Syrian regime had moved some of its forces out of Sweida to reinforce troops fighting elsewhere. Until these attacks, Sweida has been one of the few areas of relative peace during the civil war.

The governor of the province, also called Sweida, told state news that the region had been secured, and that the Syrian air force had successfully bombed Islamic State positions.

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