Beirut: An Islamic State group advance spearheaded by a suicide bomber on a government-held enclave in eastern Syria killed at least 19 government troops and militia, a monitoring group said Thursday.
The overnight bombing struck a government position near Deir Ezzor military airport, a vital supply line for the besieged troops holding out in the eastern city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In ensuing fighting, the jihadists captured several government positions in the area and lost at least seven of their own fighters, the Britain-based group said.
They also seized two tanks, an armoured vehicle, artillery and heavy machine guns from the positions they overran, it added.
IS forces control most of Deir Ezzor province, but half of the its capital remains in government hands, along with the military airport to its southeast.
The oil-rich province lies between IS-controlled Raqa province and the Iraqi border and is a key prize for the jihadist group.