(CNN)The militants went from home to home, killing families as they slept, before launching several suicide bombings on Wednesday, targeting a bustling vegetable market as well as government-held positions in the southern Syrian province of Suwayda. When the attackers ran out of ammunition, they detonated their explosive vests.
Gruesome massacre in Syria is a reminder that ISIS is far from dead
By the day's end more than 200 people were dead, and 180 wounded, in a gruesome massacre claimed by ISIS.
The coordinated assault -- one of the group's deadliest attacks in Syria for years -- is a chilling reminder that ISIS is far from dead, just a few months after US President Donald Trump suggested the terrorists would soon be gone from Syria for good.
"What happened in the past 48 hours tells us a great deal about the new strategy of the remnants of ISIS. Going from home to home stabbing civilians ... the aim is to inflict as much damage as it is to terrorize," Fawaz Gerges, author of ISIS: A History and professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told CNN.
"Even though it has been military defeated on the battlefield, lost its physical caliphate, it still has a few thousand combatants spread worldwide who can carry out spectacular, bloody attacks," he added.
ISIS lost most of its territory in Syria last year -- including its self-declared capital -- after coming under attack from separate offensives by Russian-backed regime troops and US-backed militia forces.
Since then, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have quashed the last remaining rebel enclaves near the cities of Damascus and Homs. And in recent weeks, the regime retook a large swath of southern Syria from the opposition, pushing forward to seize a last pocket near Suwayda, home mostly to the country's minority