A series of suicide bombings and attacks in southern Syria, including a suicide bomber who struck at a busy vegetable market, killed 38 people on Wednesday, state media reported, blaming Islamic State militants for the carnage.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the violence on the Telegram messaging app, saying "soldiers of the caliphate" attacked Syrian government positions and security outposts in Sweida city, then detonated their explosive belts.
Attacks on fighting forces as well as civilians are created to show the group is still powerful and capable of wreaking fear and destruction across the war-torn country.
The local health authority put the toll at 96 killed and 176 wounded.
However, Israel said it will continue to escalate attacks along its frontier and elsewhere in Syria where it suspects Iranian-backed forces are stationed.
A suicide auto bombing that same day killed 14 fighters from pro-government and rebel ranks in an attack on a south Syrian village claimed by the Islamic State group.
The Syrian government is in control of the vast majority of Suwayda province with the exception of a small pocket in the eastern Badia desert region that is now held by the Islamic State.
Most of Daraa province is controlled by opposition forces, though the government holds parts of the provincial capital and a few villages in the northwest.
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Photographs distributed on social media, which Reuters could not independently verify but which the Observatory said were genuine, purported to show the bodies of Islamic State fighters hanged from street signs by angry residents.
The province's governor, Amer al-Eshi, told state-run Ikhbariyah TV that Sweida had been secured by Wednesday afternoon.
Israel took control of 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized internationally.
The Observatory said government forces battled jihadists who stormed the villages from an IS pocket northeast of the city.
The Observatory said the militants seized hostages from the villages they had attacked.
The army and villagers regained control of a hill and broke a brief siege of another nearby village after clashes, Ikhbariyah said.
Pro-Assad forces began pushing last week towards the border area close to the demilitarised zone adjoining the Israeli-occupied area after rebels surrendered large parts of Quneitra province.
Syrian shepherds walk in the Shihan neighbourhood in the government-held side of Aleppo.