A new wave of airstrikes targeting the Syrian city of Raqqa, the headquarters of the DAESH and the focus of an international military campaign, killed at least eight people, including five children, Syrian opposition groups said Friday. The strikes came as France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, declared that destroying the DAESH headquarters and "neutralizing and eradicating" the extremist group is the main objective of the international campaign. It wasn't immediately clear who carried out the latest airstrikes. The city in northeastern Syria is the group's de facto capital and has become the focus of international airstrikes in the wake of the Paris terror attacks and the bombing of a Russian jetliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. DAESH has said it was behind both the Paris attacks and the downing of the Russian passenger plane.
A Raqqa-based activist group that reports on DAESH, known as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, said Friday that most of the casualties in the latest aerial bombardment occurred when warplanes targeted the city's Heten School. The school, like others in Raqqa, has been taken over by DAESH. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 12, including the five children. Conflicting casualty figures are common in the chaos of Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year. Russia and a U.S.-led coalition that includes France have been pounding Raqqa.
An DAESH-affiliated agency, Aamaq, published a video purporting to show nighttime explosions that lit up the Raqqa sky. The video showed a building and several cars on fire, and a man crouching over the bodies of five children. The agency claimed the casualties and destruction were caused by Russian airstrikes that targeted civilian areas.