Middle East

Syrian warplanes strike eastern city, killing 12

Syrian men inspect a destroyed vehicle at the site of a reported barrel-bomb attack by Syrian government forces in the northern city of Aleppo June 25, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/Khaled Khatib)

BEIRUT: Syrian government warplanes Wednesday struck an eastern city that is a stronghold of an Islamic militant group, killing at least 12 people, opposition activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the jets struck targets around the city, including a market and the headquarters of the Al-Qaeda breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in the provincial capital of Raqqa.

Another activist group, the Syria-based Local Coordination Committees also reported the strikes, saying that five people were killed in a single strike that targeted the Islamic State building.

An opposition activist in Raqqa reported seven airstrikes on Raqqa Wednesday. The activist, who goes by the name of Abu Noor, said in an interview over Skype that 13 bodies of civilians have been identified. He said that the death toll will likely rise due to a large number of wounded in various attacks around the city.

The activists said that only one of the airstrikes struck the Islamic State headquarters in the city, while others targeted other areas including a market.

The Islamic State, along with other rebel groups fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, captured Raqqa in March 2013. Recently, the group has become a major fighting force in Iraq, capturing in recent days major cities and towns in northern Iraq from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Further, Syrian aircraft also carried out Wednesday a series of air strikes in the eastern Deir al-Zor province near the border with Iraq, the Observatory said. Islamic state fighters have been battling rival jihadi rebel groups for months in the oil-rich province. There were no immediate reports of reports of casualties.





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