Russian airstrikes kill 21 civilians in east Syria: monitor

Russian airstrikes 'kill 21 civilians' in east Syria
2 min read
06 December, 2017
Russian airstrikes killed 21 civilians early Wednesday in a village held by the Islamic State group near the Euphrates River in eastern Syria, a monitor said.

Nine children were among those killed in the strikes [AFP]
At least 21 civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes in a village held by the Islamic State group near the Euphrates River in eastern Syria early on Wednesday, a monitor said. 

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

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

On Sunday, a wave of Syrian government airstrikes on Sunday killed at least 25 civilians and wounded dozens across the besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

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

The militants have lost vast swathes of it to separate offensives by Russian-backed Syrian troops and an alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF].

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

Russian warplanes had given air cover to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as they fought against militants in Deir az-Zour, according to the YPG and Moscow's defence ministry. 

Russia first launched bombing raids in 2015 in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad'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.

IS has also lost most of the territory it held in neighbouring Iraq.

Agencis contributed to this report