Syria: ISIL-held Raqqa hit by deadly air strikes

Air strikes targeting armed fighters in besieged city kill at least 12 people, including fighters and children.

    Fighting has intensified in many parts of Syria despite the government's extension of a ceasefire [File: Rodi Said/Reuters]
    Fighting has intensified in many parts of Syria despite the government's extension of a ceasefire [File: Rodi Said/Reuters]

    Air strikes in Raqqa, Syria have killed at least 12 people, among them fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), as well as civilians and four children from one family, according to activist groups. 

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    War planes dropped bombs on the city and its outskirts on Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to the activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently. 

    In a Twitter post, the group said that four children from a local family were killed in air strikes on the city, which has been held by ISIL for more than three years.  

    The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said at least seven ISIL fighters were also left dead. 

    Elsewhere in Syria, the SOHR said air strikes in Idlib killed a child and injured several others on Tuesday.

    Earlier on Monday, the Syrian army unilaterally extended a nationwide truce for an additional 72 hours, the state news agency SANA reported.

    On the ground, however, fighting has continued unabated in many parts of the country. 

    Aleppo supply line 

    Fighting over a government-blockaded supply line - the Castello Road - has also intensified throughout Aleppo in recent days. 

    The Castello Road is the last supply route into the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo, where up to 300,000 people live. 

    Rebels launched an offensive to take back the vital route on Monday, but government forces repelled them and continue to control it. At least 29 rebel fighters were killed during that operation. 

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    Shells fired by rebels killed at least 57 people and injured nearly 500 others in the government-held parts of Aleppo, SANA reported. 

    The severing of the Castello Road has already created shortages of food and fuel in the east of Aleppo, with local market stalls sparsely stocked.

    Residents also described searching in vain for fuel, whether for vehicles or home use.

    According to the UN, nearly 600,000 Syrians live in besieged areas, most surrounded by government forces, although rebels are also besieging civilians.

    The Syrian conflict started as a largely unarmed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, but it quickly turned into a full-scale civil war that has now left an estimated 280,000 dead, according to the SOHR.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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