11 government soldiers and two civilians were killed in an attack on a bus in northern Syria on Monday, the defense ministry said, according to Reuters.
The Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the attack, which Syrian state news agency SANA said took place in the Jabal al-Bishri region of Raqqa province.
A defense ministry statement said that 11 soldiers and two civilians were killed in what it called a terrorist attack on a civilian bus. Three soldiers were wounded, it said.
ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack on one of its channels on the Telegram messaging app.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ambush was carried out by ISIS sleeper cells that launch hit-and-run attacks in the country's desert areas.
ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled. The de facto capital of that “caliphate” was Raqqa.
Several military offensives, including those backed by the US-led international coalition, have since seen ISIS lose most areas it once controlled, including the loss of their de facto capital.
In 2019, then-US President Donald Trump declared that “100 percent” of the ISIS caliphate had been liberated.
Despite losing the physical caliphate, thousands of ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, and the group continues to carry out terrorist attacks.
Just last week, the US-led coalition battling ISIS in Syria said it had detained a senior leader of the group during an early-morning operation.