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33 dead in Islamic State suicide bomb attack on West-backed camp on Jordan-Syria border

In photo: Zaatari refugee camp, located close to the northern Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria on July 14. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Amman, Jordan Aug 25, 2016, 02.18 AM (IST)
Rebels belonging to a West-backed rebel camp killed atleast 30 militants of the Islamic State after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the camp near the Jordanian border on Wednesday and attacked several of their outposts. 

The rebels, who belonged to the Forces of Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo, claimed that they had killed at least 30 of the attackers and suffered at least three casualties. The clashes took place in a sparsely populated desert area near the crossroads of the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq. 

"We repelled the attack by Daesh (Islamic State) on several areas, and they failed to make any progress and have retreated," the rebels' spokesman, Saeed Saif, said. 

The Islamic State also claimed the attack and said in a statement by its Damascus province that a suicide bomber named Abu Hafs al-Damashi had driven his car into the headquarters of those who it called 'Sahwat', a term used for forces backed by the West who are viewed as apostates by the ultra-hardline Sunni militants,  killing at least 19 of them.

The group said simultaneous attacks on several locations within the camp also killed another seven FSA fighters and were also able seize weapons before ending their operation.

The Force of Martyr Ahmed al-Abdo is one of the groups aligned to the so-called Southern Front that a coalition of Western and Arab countries support and was one of the earliest Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups to get US-made anti-tank missiles.

That backing is part of a strategy of preventing opposition-held southern Syria and the south-eastern desert area from falling into the hands of radical jihadist groups.

The group's leader, Saleem Bakour, was killed in June by a suspected Islamic State militant.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack launched from the same area in June when a car crossed into Jordan and killed seven Jordanian border guards.

US-backed rebels based in the Syrian border town of al-Tanf, further northeast, periodically clash with Islamic State militants who have a presence in the vast sparsely populated southeastern Syria desert.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)
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