A car bombing blamed on the Islamic State group killed at least 26 displaced people in eastern Syria yesterday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
The Britain-based Observatory said 12 children were among the victims of the attack on a gathering at a checkpoint run by US-backed fighters in Deir Ezzor province, where the militants are losing ground to two separate offensives aimed at ousting IS from Syria.
“Dozens of people were wounded, and the death toll could rise because of the number of serious injuries,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman The displaced people had been on their way to neighbouring Hasakeh province, where camps have been set up to house them in Kurdish-controlled territory, Abdel Rahman said.
IS controls roughly one quarter of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province but is battling for survival on two fronts.
One offensive against IS is by Syrian regime forces backed by Russian air power, while the second is by a US-backed coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces.
IS fighters are now cornered in part of Deir Ezzor province around the border town of Albu Kamal on the frontier with Iraq, and many civilians have been trying to flee the affected areas.
The militants group seized large areas of both Syria and Iraq in a lightning 2014 campaign, but has this year seen its self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumble as it came under multiple offensives.
SIX CHILDREN DEAD
Meanwhile, shelling by the Syrian regime on the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus yesterday killed at least 19 civilians, among them six children, a monitor said.
The deaths were the result of the latest bout in an escalating cycle of tit-for-tat attacks between regime forces and the rebels holding the enclave on the Syrian capital’s eastern outskirts.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a total of 52 civilians have been killed in the process, most of them in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged since 2013 and where humanitarian conditions are dire.
Seven people, including five children, were killed in regime shelling and air strikes in Douma, the main town in the Eastern Ghouta area, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta, another child was killed in Harasta, he said, adding that two members of the White Helmets rescue organisation were also among Friday’s victims.
On Tuesday, the Ahrar al-Sham group, which has positions in Harasta, launched an attack on a regime military base in the area, which is supposed to be a so-called “de-escalation zone” as part of a deal agreed between Russia, Iran and Turkey to bring violence levels down.
The fighting on that front has left at least 37 dead on the regime side, according to the Observatory, a toll the regime has not confirmed.
Abdel Rahman said “dozens” of rebels were also killed.
In a hospital in Douma, doctors and nurses were treating a continuous flow of the wounded, as the sounds of crying children echoed through the facility, an AFP correspondent said. An elderly man with greying hair sought to calm a little girl in tears, her clothes covered in blood, while the bodies of three children killed in the strikes lay inert on a metal table.
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