At least 13 civilians, including seven children, were killed in a Syrian regime air strike on Saturday in Raqa, the only provincial capital in rebel hands, a monitoring group said.
“Thirteen civilians, among them six little girls and a boy aged four, died when a military helicopter dropped several explosive barrels on sectors” of the northern city, mostly held by the jihadist Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIS), said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It said almost 30 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, adding that the raid was apparently aimed at ISIS positions.
ISIS has been the dominant force in the city after its capture by rebels in March. Residents have since held several protests against the policies of ISIS which follows an extremist line of Islam, according to the Observatory.
It says ISIS has 1,500 fighters in the city.
An Italian Jesuit priest and activist, Paolo Dall’Oglio, who hoped to negotiate with ISIS in Raqa, went missing in the city at the start of August.
Dall’Oglio had reportedly gone to meet with commanders of ISIS to try to negotiate peace between Kurds and jihadists and to plead for the release of activists kidnapped by the group.
ISIS has been blamed for the kidnapping of several activists in Raqa.