DAMASCUS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- More than 130 airstrikes have targeted the positions of the Islamic State (IS) in the Syrian desert over the past 48 hours, a war monitor reported on Saturday.
The intensified airstrikes were carried out by Russian warplanes against the positions of the IS militants in the Syrian desert in eastern Syria as the latter attacked and captured several Syrian military sites, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UK-based watchdog group said the IS militants later withdrew from the sites they had advanced to, fearing the airstrikes.
During the battles over the past 48 hours, 19 government soldiers were killed as well as 12 IS militants, said the Observatory.
After losing key areas across Syria, the IS group stationed in several parts of the Syrian desert and has carried out countless attacks on Syrian government forces.
Since March, 1,170 soldiers and pro-government fighters have been killed during IS attacks in the desert as well as 633 IS militants. Enditem