Published: Mon, November 27, 2017
People | By Neil Grant

Russian strikes kill 53 civilians in Syria's Deir al-Zor: Observatory

Russian strikes kill 53 civilians in Syria's Deir al-Zor: Observatory

Russian Defense Ministry on Monday denied a report that Russian air strikes had killed dozens of civilians in airstrikes against terrorist targets in the village of Al-Shafah in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zour province.

DeirEzzor24, an activist-run news website, reported that Sunday's air strikes targeted a residential compound where several displaced families were staying.

Eastern Ghouta was hit even though it was listed as a "de-escalation zone", where military activity is prohibited under an agreement endorsed by Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

He noted Eastern Ghouta, with a population of about 300,000, was a significant target because of its location so close to Damascus.

"The reports by the UK-based "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" on the alleged strikes on the Ash Sha'fah village conducted by the Russian planes are yet another fake", it concluded.

Moscow said it would be scaling back its military presence by the end of 2017
Moscow said it would be scaling back its military presence by the end of 2017

An earlier statement had announced that six Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers struck IS command posts and militant positions in Deir al-Zour province on Sunday.

The organization claimed that the Russian Air Force hit "residential buildings" in the village of Ash Sha'fah on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, killing at least 53 civilians, many of them children.

Deir Az Zor provnice is one of the final redoubts of ISIL in Syria after the armed group was pushed out of its main strongholds such as Raqqa and Deir Az Zor city.

Most of the 25 people killed were women and children, it said, adding that the death toll might rise because many victims were still trapped under collapsed buildings.

Russia, the ally of the syrian president Bashar al-Assad, has been carrying out since September 2015 a military operation in Syria, which has allowed government forces to gradually regain the ground the rebel groups and the jihadists.

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