13-year-old girl, eight others killed after IS militia attack in Syria


At least nine people were killed, including a 13-year-old girl, in an ambush by suspected Islamic State militants on a bus on a main highway in the central Syrian desert, the second in less than a week.

The militant group was also blamed for a previous attack on Wednesday which killed nearly 30 people, most of them soldiers returning home for the holidays.

Suspected IS militants have been active in the desert area south and central Syria despite losing territorial control in the country since last year.

Local officials said IS militants were believed to behind the Sunday attack, which also targeted oil tankers, but they offered no details on how it was carried out.

The militants ambushed three buses travelling down a road in central Syria, immediately killing nine and wounding four, according to the governor of the central Hama province, Mohammed Tarek Krishani.

Mr. Krishani told local media the passengers were travelling to the central Salamiyah town from the country’s west in a three-bus convoy when they were attacked.

The convoy also included oil tankers, he told pro-state TV Al-Ikhbariyah, without elaborating.

Seven ambulances arrived on the scene, the governor said, adding that the rest of the passengers were sent to safety.

Syrian State TV quoted the head of the local hospital as saying that one of those killed was a 13-year-old girl.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said the attackers, suspected IS militants, targeted the buses travelling down the road, killing two civilians and seven soldiers.

The attack left 16 wounded, according to the Observatory.

The difference could not be immediately reconciled but state media rarely accounts for military casualties.

State media said the attack earlier this week was against civilians.

But the Observatory said it targeted soldiers from the elite Fourth Division army unit returning home for the holidays.

Syrian state media rarely reports military casualties. (Source: Independent UK)