Air strikes kill 23 in ISIS’s Syria ‘capital’

A frame grab taken from a footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry shows smoke caused by airstrikes carried out by the country's air force at an unknown location in Syria, October 26, 2015. (Reuters)

Warplanes pounded the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group’s de facto Syrian capital Raqa on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people including 13 jihadists, a monitoring group said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said either the regime or Russian airforce was believed to have carried out the strikes.

“Thirteen members of ISIS and 10 civilians were killed in at least 16 air raids on the group’s positions and premises in several parts of Raqa city,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

He said the toll relied on information from only one hospital in the area because of security restrictions and that the number of dead could be higher.

ISIS seized Raqa in January 2014, expelling various rebel groups who had seized it from the regime the previous year.

Since then it has become the de facto Syrian capital of the territory controlled by the group, which it dubs an Islamic “caliphate”.

The town has been targeted by Syrian government air strikes and raids launched by Russia since it began an aerial campaign in late September.

A U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS has also bombed the city in the past.

Elsewhere, the Observatory said a Kurdish-Arab alliance had advanced against ISIS in the northeastern province of Hasakeh.

The Observatory said at least seven ISIS fighters had been killed in clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces and air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition on Tuesday.

The SDF said Saturday it had begun its first offensive since announcing the coalition last month against ISIS in Hasakeh province.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49