Syria’s deadliest month of 2017 claims 3,000 lives

Beirut (AFP) – Syria’s war killed at least 3,000 people including 955 civilians in September, the deadliest month of the conflict this year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said on Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and millions displaced since the war erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

It has since spiralled into a complex conflict involving world powers, with Russia-backed regime forces and a US-supported alliance separately battling the Islamic State jihadist group in the country.

The 955 civilians killed in September included 207 children, said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria for its information.

“More than 70 percent of the civilians were killed in regime and Russian air strikes, or in air raids of the international coalition” fighting IS, the monitor’s head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Backed by Russian air strikes, the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad are pressing a battle to retake IS-controlled areas in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Air strikes targeting Al-Toub village in Deir Ezzor province Sunday killed 12 civilians including five children, the Observatory said, adding that they may have been carried out by Russian warplanes.

A US-led international coalition has been providing air support to a Kurdish-Arab alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces, also fighting the jihadists in their former northern bastion of Raqa city and in Deir Ezzor.

The number of people killed in September was higher because of increased fighting and “intensified air raids of the international coalition and Russia against jihadist bastions in the north and east of Syria, but also due to increased Russian and regime strikes on rebel-held areas,” Abdel Rahman said.

– Jihadists retake town –

Russian and regime warplanes have in the past two weeks increased their strikes on the northwestern province of Idlib, which is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir…

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