Over 20 civilians killed in Russian airstrikes in eastern Syria, monitor says

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
BEIRUT
Published

Russian airstrikes killed 21 civilians early Wednesday in a village held by the Daesh terror group near the Euphrates River in eastern Syria, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing raids hit the village of Al-Jerzi on the eastern bank of the river, which cuts across Deir el-Zour province.

"Twenty-one civilians were killed, including nine children, very early Wednesday in Russian air strikes targeting residential buildings in Al-Jerzi," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The Britain-based monitor relies on a network of sources inside Syria and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.

It says Daesh, which used to control swathes of Deir el-Zour province, has been ousted from all but eight percent of the oil-rich region.

The terrorists have lost vast swathes of it to separate offensives by Russian-backed Syrian troops and an alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the PKK terrorist group's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Forces (YPG).

The SDF has long been backed by the U.S.-led coalition bombing of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, but its Kurdish component recently said it had also received support from Moscow.

Russian warplanes had given air cover to YPG as they fought against terrorists in Deir el-Zour, according to the YPG and Moscow's defense ministry.

Russia first launched bombing raids in 2015 in support of the Assad regime's beleaguered forces.

Those strikes have helped Assad regain control over much of war-ravaged Syria.

More than 340,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out with protests against Assad's rule in March 2011 which were met with a brutal crackdown.

Daesh has also lost most of the territory it held in neighboring Iraq.

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