US-led coalition strikes killed 27 civilians in part of Syria’s Raqa city held by Daish, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said as Russia’s air force destroyed a large column of Daish rebels near Deir Al Zor, killing over 200 militants.
Russia’s Defence Ministry was quoted as saying on Monday that its planes had also destroyed the militants’ military equipment. It did not say when the strike took place.
Seven children were among the dead in the strikes that “hit the densely-populated Al-Badu area in the centre of the city,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said on Monday.
Once a radical stronghold, more than half of Raqa city has fallen to the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters that entered the city in June.
The SDF is heavily backed by the US-led coalition, which has regularly launched air strikes against the radical that have reportedly killed scores of civilians.
According to the Britain-based Observatory, at least 125 civilians have been killed in a week of US-led strikes on Raqa city, including those who died on Sunday.
“There are civilians killed each day in coalition strikes… The closer the fighting gets to the densely-populated city centre, the more civilian deaths there are,” Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition, which operates in both Syria and neighbouring Iraq, says it takes all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties.
In August, it acknowledged the deaths of 624 civilians in its strikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014, but rights groups say the number is much higher.
The UN’s humanitarian pointman for Syria, Jan Egeland, has said Daish-held territory in Raqa city is now “the worst place” in the war-torn country.
The UN estimates there are up to 25,000 civilians trapped inside the city, with food and fuel supplies short and prohibitively expensive.
In another development, Lebanon’s Hezbollah used drones to strike Daish in Syria close to the border with Lebanon, a military media unit it runs said on Monday.
Hezbollah deployed the drones to hit Daish positions, bunkers and fortifications in the Western Qalamoun area near the border with Lebanon, achieving direct hits, the military media unit said.
An official in the military alliance fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said it was the first time Hezbollah had declared its use of the weapons.
Early on Saturday Hezbollah and the Syrian army began an operation against a Daish enclave straddling the border with Lebanon in Syria’s Western Qalamoun.
The Lebanese army began a separate but simultaneous operation against the same radical pocket from inside Lebanon.