IS fighters attack government-held areas in central Syria
IS fighters attack government-held areas in central Syria
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20 May, 2017, 02:00
At least 15 civilians were among 52 people also killed in fighting in the central province of Hama Thursday, following a major offensive by Islamic State, according to the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists inside war-torn Syria.
The SOHR said at least 27 government troops or militia were killed in the attack, on the villages of Aqareb and al-Mabujeh.
And in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, which is largely under IS control, jihadist shelling of a government-held neighborhood killed at least 14 people, the monitor said.
The villages, Aqareb and Al-Mabujeh, are located near the town of Salamiyeh and the highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo.
State news agency SANA says 20 civilians were killed after IS militants stormed parts of the village and that 45 were wounded.
"This action was taken after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south. were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shots", the US -led coalitions aid.
"Then there was finally a strike against the lead portion of that movement".
"We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops", Mattis said.
"The target of the airstrike was clearly affiliated with the regime", an official at the US Department of Defence told dpa, without giving details. It added that the advance had posed a threat to United States and partner forces in the area.
Describing the hours-long event as an "escalation-of-force situation", the official said it did not signal a strategic shift for the coalition, which remains focused on fighting IS group.
UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, left, and UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, attend a round of negotiation with Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Nasr al-Hariri during the Intra Syria talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
"We welcome robust action against the foreign forces who have turned Syria into a killing field", he said.
Hostilities have intensified in that area, as supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad try to advance and take control of Maskanah town, in the eastern end of Aleppo, and other surrounding areas. "They can not be allowed to wage war on our soil with impunity". It said coalition forces have been operating in the area "for many months training and advising vetted partner forces" in the battle against IS.
The biggest exception to this was a U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase last month in response to a suspected chemical attack by the regime.
In recent months, the extremist group has suffered military setbacks and lost territory in the country.
It has raised fears of a new atrocities mirroring those ISIS carried out in other minority communities - including Yazidi areas - in Syria and Iraq.
And in June a year ago, Russian warplanes bombed the outpost, reportedly just one day after British special forces had pulled out.
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