DAMASCUS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 53 people were killed when the Islamic State (IS) group attacked a village in the central province of Hama on Thursday morning, a monitor group reported.
The IS militants attacked the village of Akareb near the Salamiyeh city in the countryside of Hama earlier on Thursday, prompting the Syrian forces to respond to the attack which was focused on the center of the village.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll include civilians, children and Syrian forces.
It said the attack is the most violent the IS has waged in two years against areas in the countryside of Salamiyeh.
As many as 15 militants with the IS were killed during the offensive as well, the UK-based watchdog group added.
It said the Syrian warplanes struck IS positions in central Syria, following the attack.
Meanwhile, pro-government media reports said the IS launched their offensive from the town of Akairbat in Hama countryside, adding that the army and allied forces foiled the attack.