Beirut: At least 35 Syrian soldiers and pro-regime militiamen were killed on Saturday in a multi-front attack by the Islamic State group on the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadist group had advanced into the northern tip of the city and captured the suburb of Al-Baghaliyeh.
The advance puts IS in control of around 60 percent of Deir ez-Zor with the regime holding the rest, according to the Britain-based monitor.
Syrian state news agency SANA said regime troops had repelled an IS attack on the area around Al-Baghaliyeh and inflicted "heavy losses" on the group.
Deir ez-Zor is the capital of Deir Ezzor province, an oil-rich region that borders Iraq and is mostly held by IS.
The regime has clung onto portions of the provincial capital and the adjacent military airport despite repeated IS attacks.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said heavy fighting was continuing on Saturday afternoon after the IS assault, which began with a suicide car bomb blast carried out by a member of the jihadist group.
Eight of the regime forces killed were shot dead in executions by IS, the Observatory added.
The group said Russian warplanes were carrying out heavy air strikes in support of regime forces as they sought to repel the IS advance....