US-led coalition bombards Isis at Raqqa with up to 30 air strikes
US-led coalition warplanes carried out as many as 30 air strikes overnight against (Isis) militants in and around the group’s de facto capital in north-eastern Syria, activists said on Sunday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes targeted Isis positions in the city of Raqqa as well as the Division 17 air base, which the militants seized earlier this year from government forces.
The monitoring group, which relies on a network of activists inside , reported at least 30 coalition strikes in all. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, also confirmed the air strikes. Neither group had casualty figures.
There was no immediate confirmation from the .
The US-led coalition began targeting Isis militants in Syria in September, expanding an aerial campaign already hitting the extremist group in Iraq. Many US air strikes have targeted Isis fighters who are attacking the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani on the Turkish border.
The Observatory said that at least 50 Isis militants were killed on Saturday and early Sunday in clashes with Kurds and in coalition air strikes. Eleven Kurdish fighters were also killed, according to the Observatory.
Idris Nassan, a Kurdish official from Kobani, said by telephone that tens of Isis militants were killed, but he did not have a concrete figure.
Isis has been attacking Kobani since mid-September. The militants’ offensive has bogged down, and the Syrian Kurds – backed by their Iraqi brethren with heavy weapons – appear to have seized the momentum and to have begun pushing the jihadis back
Meanwhile, Syrian government aircraft targeted a southern town with a series of air strikes on Sunday, killing at least a dozen people including women and children, activists said.
The Local Coordination Committees activist collective and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights both reported the strikes on Jasim in the southern province of Daraa.
The Local Coordination Committees said the strikes were barrel bombs – large canisters packed with explosives and metal scraps – that cause massive damage on impact. It said at least 12 people were killed, including women and children.
The Observatory put the death toll at 17. That figure included five women and one young girl. It said the air raids were carried out by warplanes, not helicopters.
Both groups also reported government air strikes on the nearby town of Nawa, which opposition forces captured earlier this month. There was no immediate word on casualties there.
Syrian rebels have advanced in southern Syria over the past two months, seizing a string of towns from President Assad’s forces. The rebels are working together with al-Qaida’s Syrian branch, known as the Nusra Front, whose battle-hardened fighters have been at the forefront of the clashes.