Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Children among dead' in air strikes on Islamic State-held town in Syria

The strikes targeted the Syrian town of Manbej in Aleppo province
The strikes targeted the Syrian town of Manbej in Aleppo province

More than 20 people have been killed, many of them children, and dozens wounded in air strikes on a town in northern Syria held by Islamic State, activists said.

The strikes that targeted the town of Manbej in Aleppo province were most likely carried out by Syrian army planes, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said the death toll is likely to rise because many of the wounded suffered critical injuries.

Twitter and Facebook accounts affiliated with IS said 26 people were killed and around 100 wounded in the attacks.

Syrian planes often target IS-held towns and cities across northern Syria, and the strikes often result in civilian casualties.

A US-led coalition also bombs IS targets in Syria on a daily basis, but the two sides say their strikes are not co-ordinated.

In Iraq, IS militants blew up a sports stadium in western Anbar province that in recent months had been used as a military base, officials said.

There may have been fighters with the country's Popular Mobilisation Forces inside the 30,000-capacity stadium when it was destroyed, military and security officials in Anbar said, but they were unable to provide a specific estimate and officials with the PMF were not aware of casualties.

The Turkish-funded stadium, near the militant-held city of Ramadi, had never been used for sports. In recent months, it was used as a military base for Iraqi security forces and allied militia groups.

The Iraqi Defence Ministry said last week that security forces had been able to "cleanse" the stadium from militants taking refuge inside.

Also in Anbar, officials said IS ambushed a military unit near the city of Fallujah, killing the group's commander, Ali Ahmed, and four of his men.

Press Association

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