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Syrian air raids on jihadist-held town kill 23 civilians: monitor

BEIRUT: Syrian regime air raids on Raqa city, which the Islamic State jihadist group has proclaimed as its capital, killed at least 23 civilians on Tuesday, a monitoring group said.

“At least 23 civilians, including three children, were killed in a string of air strikes” against the northern city, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that dozens of others were wounded.

“Most of the casualties were caused by two consecutive air strikes targeting the city’s industrial area,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

“The first strike came, residents rushed to rescue the wounded, and then the second raid took place,” said Abdel Rahman, whose Britain-based group has multiple sources on the ground across Syria.

The Islamic State emerged in Syria’s war in spring 2013.

It took over Raqa, the only provincial capital to fall from government control since the outbreak of a 2011 revolt, and turned it into its bastion.

The government has launched frequent air strikes against Raqa and other IS positions in northern and eastern Syria, but activists say most of the casualties have been civilians. -AFP

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