Middle East

Syria bombs ISIS positions in Raqqa for second day

Smoke rises after what activists say was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad in Raqqa August 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)

BEIRUT: Syrian war planes bombed positions belonging to the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in the northern province of Raqqa for a second day Monday, an activist group said.

Regime planes killed 31 jihadists and eight civilians Sunday in an unprecedented wave of aerial bombardment against the group in its Raqqa bastion.

The bombing continued Monday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with at least 14 raids against jihadist positions.

There was no immediate death toll in the renewed bombing.

Three raids targeted the area around the town of Tabqa in western Raqqa and four hit near the Tabqa military airport, the only remaining regime-held position in the province.

The other seven strikes hit sites inside Raqqa city, the provincial capital.

The raids involved the use of precision weapons rather than the explosive-packed barrel bombs that the regime has deployed to deadly effect in Aleppo province and elsewhere.

Barrel bombs have been criticized for being indiscriminate and killing civilians.

The Syrian raids come as the United States carries out airstrikes against ISIS just across the border in neighboring Iraq.

The U.S. strikes are intended to limit the advance of ISIS militants who have seized large swath of territory in both Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic "caliphate."

The group emerged from Al-Qaeda's one-time Iraq affiliate, but has since broken with that organization and grown into a cross-border militant group.

It has been battling rival opposition fighters in Syria since early January, after a backlash because of the group's abuses against civilians and rebels, and its bid to dominate captured territory.





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