BEIRUT (dpa) – The death toll from airstrikes by Syrian regime warplanes against a stronghold of the extremist Islamic State group has risen to 95, a monitoring group reported on Wednesday. Government jets on Tuesday launched a series of strikes in the city of al-Raqqa, in north-eastern Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, activists said.
The dead included eight adult civilians and four children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Fifty-two of those killed in the bombardment were identified, the Britain-based watchdog said.
Opposition groups inside Syria meanwhile said that 170 people had been killed and wounded in the aerial bombardment, which struck a market and an industrial zone near Syria’s border with Iraq. The figures could not be independently verified.
At least 200,000 have been killed in Syria’s conflict since it started with peaceful anti-government protests in 2011, according to activists.
Diplomatic efforts have since failed to end the strife, which has forced 3.2 million people to flee Syria and internally displaced some 7.6 million others, according to UN estimates.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem headed on Wednesday to Moscow for talks with Russian officials on the crisis. Russia is a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian opposition and their backers have repeatedly insisted any peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict should have no future role for al-Assad.