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Air strikes on IS-run refineries in Syria kill 30: monitor

BEIRUT: US-led coalition air strikes on oil refineries run by the Islamic State group in northern Syria killed 30 people, mostly jihadists, a monitoring group said on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said coalition warplanes launched two strikes Sunday on oil facilities in Raqa province, a stronghold of the extremist group which borders Turkey.

Since September, the coalition has conducted repeated air strikes against IS in Syria, as well as in neighbouring Iraq, where the jihadists have declared an Islamic “caliphate” in areas under their control.

The raids have frequently targeted oil facilities run by the jihadists, who according to some estimates earn more than $1 million per day from oil sales.

On Sunday, the coalition also launched strikes against Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The attacks, which targeted an Al-Nusra Front military base in Atmeh near the Turkish border, killed nine members of the group, the Britain-based Observatory said.

A civilian in Atmeh told AFP that three buildings targeted by the strikes “were completely destroyed”.

Regime warplanes meanwhile struck a suburb northeast of the Syrian capital on Sunday, killing 13 people, including two children, and wounding more than 50, the Observatory said, updating an earlier toll of 11 dead.

Government forces also targeted the key rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus using barrel bombs — weapons crudely constructed from barrels packed with explosives and usually dropped from helicopters, the monitoring group said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Human rights groups have criticised the regime’s use of barrel bombs as indiscriminate, citing the large number of civilians they kill, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied the army uses them. -AFP

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