Syria
Syria

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings and other attacks Wednesday in southern Syria, killing at least 204 people.

Multiple bombers blew themselves up near a market and a busy square in the city of Sweida.

Hassan Omar, a local health official, said at least 180 others were wounded in the attack. Among the casualties were civilians who took up arms to defend against the IS assault, Omar said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported clashes in nearby villages between pro-government forces and Islamic State fighters.

The Islamic State group has lost much of the territory it once held in Syria and neighboring Iraq, but does still control parts of eastern and southern Syria.

Syrian forces have retaken territory from the militants in recent weeks, particularly west of Sweida near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory said Wednesday’s attacks marked the deadliest day in the province of Sweida since the country’s civil war first broke out in 2011.