Strikes on east Syrian town kill 63, including children: monitor

Published: January 24, 2016
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A Syrian man rides a bike in the neighbourhood of Jobar, on the eastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, on January 23, 2016.  PHOTO: AFP

A Syrian man rides a bike in the neighbourhood of Jobar, on the eastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, on January 23, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT: At least 63 people, including nine children, have died in air strikes believed to be carried out by Russian warplanes on a town in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

The raids on Khasham near the city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday were among a series of strikes that also hit two other town in the past 48 hours, killing scores of people.

Russian jets have been bombing around Deir al-Zor as Syrian pro-government forces clash with Islamic State fighters, who control most of the province. The group has besieged remaining government-held areas of the city since last March and last week launched new attacks.

Warplanes have also hit Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa over the past two days, killing at least 44 people in the city, the Observatory said, raising its toll from Saturday after many of the wounded died of their injuries.

Pro-govt forces retake key town in Latakia

Meanwhile, Syrian pro-government forces recaptured the rebel-held town of Rabiya in the western coastal province of Latakia on Sunday, Syrian state television and a Britain-based monitoring group said.

The advance, with the backing of Russian air strikes and directed partly by Russian officers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It paved the way for a push by pro-government forces right up to the Turkish border, it said. Moscow intervened in Syria’s civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in September.

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