At Least 48 Syrian Troops Killed in ISIS Fighting; Scores Missing

22 militants also reported killed

A week of fighting in the deserts of eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor has seen at least 48 Syrian soldiers killed, and another 22 ISIS fighters. This is the most major fight in months for Syria’s military and ISIS, as the Islamist group has set up in the desert.

The death toll is likely worse, as the Syrian troops went into the area looking for other pro-government forces that they’d lost contact with, and were ambushed in that area. That leaves another 50 Syrian forces unaccounted for and missing.

Having once controlled half the country, ISIS has lost pretty much everything but empty desert, but they still have a lot of fighters loyal to them in those areas. Their ability to infiltrate and attack cities is all but gone, but this week has shown they remain a capable fighting force if given the opportunity.

ISIS casualties were mostly the result of Russian airstrikes in the area. Syrian ground troops appear to have been outmatched, which may reflect the ambush they ended up involved in, and ISIS’s familiarity with the terrain.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.