Terrorism & Insurgency

Return of Islamic State to Suwayda desert increases likelihood of suicide attacks in southern Syria and Damascus

06 March 2019


Approximately 300 Islamic State fighters have moved back into the Suwayda desert in southern Syria, occupying the remote villages of Khirbet al-Husn, al-Kara, Diyatha, and Namla, according to social media reports in February.

Given its mountainous terrain, this unpopulated area remains practically outside the territorial control of the Syrian government. The jihadist group in this area most likely comprises Syrian fighters who escaped from the Hajjar al-Aswad/Yarmouk Camp neighbourhood of Damascus in May 2018 and were forced into the Homs desert by the Syrian army in November 2018. The Islamic State units based in these areas were responsible for the 'inghimasi' attack in Suwayda province on 25 July 2018, in which more than 60 Islamic State militants detonated suicide vests after using up their ammunition, killing at least 258 people and injuring 180.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at

(158 of 357 words)