Dozens Killed in Air Strikes on Syria’s Raqqa: Monitor, Activists

Dozens of people were killed in a series of air strikes on the city of Raqqa in northern Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group and activists said, as Damascus and Moscow waged attacks on areas controlled by Daesh. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir/Files

BEIRUT, March 19 – Dozens of people were killed or wounded in a series of air strikes on the city of Raqqa in northern Syria on Saturday, Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It said the dead included women and children and more than 60 people were wounded. It did not specify who had conducted the air strikes.

A cessation of hostilities in Syria took effect three weeks ago, reducing violence but not halting the fighting as peace talks take place in Geneva. The deal does not include al Qaeda or Daesh militants, whose de facto capital in Syria is Raqqa.

An activist group called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently said more than 40 had been killed, and that separate strikes hit areas in the north of Raqqa province.

The Observatory said 16 people were also killed in air strikes in Raqqa on Friday.

Russia has been pulling out its attack aircraft after announcing a partial withdrawal from Syria, where its air campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad has turned fighting in his favour.

However, the Observatory said Russian warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes in and around the historic city of Palmyra on Saturday.

It said 70 raids had hit the city and its immediate vicinity, with no immediate reports of casualties.

Government forces and their allies are aiming to capture Palmyra, some 200 km southwest of Raqqa and also held by Daesh since May.

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