Nearly 450 killed in Russian strikes on Syria

2015-10-23 19:21
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Beirut - Russian air strikes in Syria have killed at least 446 people, more than a third of them civilians, since they began end-September, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

Meanwhile, fresh attacks on a flashpoint town in the centre of the country by either Russian or regime planes killed at least 14 civilians, nearly half of them children, the Britain-based Observatory added.

Russia launched its air war on President Bashar al-Assad's opponents, saying it was targeting the Islamic State group and other "terrorists".

Of the total killed since then, 151 are civilians and include 38 children and 35 women, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The strikes have also killed 295 combatants, including 75 ISIS jihadists and 31 members of al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, he said.

The Observatory relies on a network of activists, medical staff and fighters on the ground who say they identify Russian warplanes based on model, flight patterns and munition types.

Air strikes

In Friday's attack on the town of Talbisseh, in Homs province, Abdel Rahman said six children and five women were among the dead.

The source of the fire was unclear, but Russian and government planes have been conducting strikes in the area.

Russia's air force has been backing army ground operations in the coastal province of Latakia, Aleppo in the north and Homs and Hama in the centre.

A US-led coalition has also conducted more than a year of air strikes in Syria in its war on ISIS.

Talbisseh, which lies on the Homs-Hama highway, is controlled by non-ISIS rebel forces and the Al-Nusra Front.

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