DAMASCUS, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least four Syrian soldiers were killed during battles between the Syrian army and the Islamic State (IS) in the eastern Syrian desert on Wednesday, a war monitor reported.
The "intense" battles were fought in the eastern countryside of the eastern province of Deir al-Zour near the village of al-Bulail, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The watchdog group said the battles were ongoing.
The clashes on Wednesday came days after the IS ambushed government forces in the desert region, killing five soldiers, including an officer.
The Observatory said that as many as 341 Syrian soldiers and pro-government fighters, as well as 103 IS militants have been killed in similar battles in the desert between March 2019 and January 2020.
The IS militants have been actively carrying out attacks against Syrian soldiers and pro-government troops in the desert in the remote eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour and the desert of Homs.
It is worth noting that the IS militants have largely been defeated in their key bastions in northern and northeastern Syria.
However, thousands of the IS militants are now hiding in the sprawling desert region in the east of Homs and Deir al-Zour.