World Russian air strikes kill 34 civilians near Deir Az Zor

22:50  10 september  2017
22:50  10 september  2017 Source:   Al Jazeera

Syrian army, allies advance towards Deir al-Zor

  Syrian army, allies advance towards Deir al-Zor Syria's army and its allies advanced towards their enclave in Deir al-Zor, besieged by Islamic State forces, on Sunday, taking al-Kharata oil field, a war monitor reported. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has focused this year on the campaign in Syria's desert, striking eastwards in a multi-pronged assault against Islamic State to restore Deir al-Zor, where the government pocket has been surrounded for years.Sunday's advance brings the army and its allies to about 10km (7 miles) from the city, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 34 civilians , including nine children, have been killed in a Russian air raid on Euphrates River ferries near Syria's Deir Az Zor city, according to a monitoring group. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the air strikes on Sunday targeted "more than

Russian statement appears to implicate aircraft from two member states of the US led coalition in the air strike on the Syrian military base in Deir az - Zor . Destroying Syria to Create Sunnistan Mike Whitney, Counterpunch, December 9

Oil-rich Deir Az Zor is a strategic prize for both SDF and Syria's army [File: Russian Defence Ministry/AP]© Provided by Al Jazeera Oil-rich Deir Az Zor is a strategic prize for both SDF and Syria's army [File: Russian Defence Ministry/AP]

At least 34 civilians, including nine children, have been killed in a Russian air raid on Euphrates River ferries near Syria's Deir Az Zor city, according to a monitoring group.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the air strikes on Sunday targeted "more than 40 ferries" that left al-Boulil town southwest of Deir Az Zor for the eastern shore of the Euphrates.

No immediate response from Russian authorities was available.

Sunday's attack came as Syrian troops pressed an offensive against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across Deir Az Zor province with Russian air cover.

Syrian troops breach 3-year IS siege on eastern city

  Syrian troops breach 3-year IS siege on eastern city <p>Syrian government troops and allied forces reached the eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Tuesday, breaching a nearly three-year Islamic State group siege.</p>The TV report said troops advancing from the west reached the western outskirts of the city and broke the siege after IS defenses collapsed.

Strikes target Mayadin, Al-Bukamal, Al-Mohassan and areas surrounding Deir -ez- Zor military air base, activists report. At least 30 civilians have been killed across the eastern Deir -ez- Zor province as Syrian regime warplanes backed by Russian jets intensify their aerial campaign on Islamic State-held

At least 34 civilians were killed on Sunday when Russian warplanes targeted ferries carrying them across the Euphrates River near Syria's eastern city of Deir Ezzor, a monitor said.

According to the War Media channel operated by Syrian government ally Hezbollah, Syrian troops seized full control of the 450km road linking the capital, Damascus, to Deir Az Zor for the first time in four years.

"The Syrian army and its allies now control the entire international highway between Deir Az Zor and Damascus, through the cities of al-Sukhna and Palmyra," it said, referring to other central Syrian cities recaptured from ISIL (also known as ISIS).

READ MORE: SDF in race with Syrian army for oil-rich Deir Az Zor

An alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States was also on the move against ISIL in Deir Az Zor.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday announced it had begun clearing ISIL fighters from areas east of the Euphrates, which cuts diagonally across the province.

Sweeping advance

On Sunday, the Observatory said the SDF had made a sweeping advance, capturing territory just kilometres from Deir Az Zor city.

"They seized control of a hilltop seven kilometres from the eastern banks of the Euphrates," said Abdel Rahman.

He attributed the quick gains to the fact "eastern parts of Deir Az Zor are desert and not densely populated".

Oil-rich Deir Az Zor province borders Iraq and is a strategic prize for both SDF and the Syrian army.

Since 2014, ISIL has held about 60 percent of the city and much of the surrounding province.

US urges Syria cooperation with Russia after strike .
Washington and Moscow have held high-level talks aimed at shoring up military "deconfliction" zones in eastern Syria after Russia was accused of targeting US-backed forces battling the Islamic State group in an air strike, a top US general said Sunday. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Washington-backed Kurd and Arab fighters, said Saturday that several of its fighters were injured in a bombing by Russian warplanes east of the Euphrates River near Syria's oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor.

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