More than 50 people were killed in an Islamic State group assault on two regime-held villages in central Syria on Thursday including women and children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Fifteen of the dead have so far been identified as non-combatants and 27 as pro-government fighters, the Observatory said.
IS also lost 15 fighters in the dawn attack on the two villages in the east of the province, the monitor said.
State news agency SANA said militants were able to storm homes in the southern part of the Aqareb al-Safi village, adding that government forces repelled them, pushing them back toward the desert.
Aamaq claimed that 100 Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen were killed in the fighting. At least 15 were civilians, including five children, and three of them died in execution-style killings, it said. Media reports from elsewhere suggest the targeted villages were Shi'ites, but not specifically Alawites.
"Dozens of people are also missing, but it is not clear if they were kidnapped by Daesh", said the Observatory's chief Rami Abdurrahman, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the group.
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The Observatory said IS had seized control of Aqareb and part of Al-Mabujeh.
Meanwhile, Turkey yesterday called for the removal of the USA diplomat coordinating the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, accusing him of backing Syrian Kurdish militias.
More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in 2011.
The UN-sponsored process has been somewhat overshadowed by a parallel track convened in Kazakh capital Astana by regime supporters Russian Federation and Iran along with rebel backer Turkey.
And he played down the plan to discuss constitutional issues.
Syrian delegation leader Bashar al-Ja'afari said the process was the government's "own initiative", but he insisted that Damascus "will not accept any interference". "They will not take decisions", he said.
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