Pulse.ng logo
Go

In Syria Over 180 civilians slain in battle for Minbij city, watchdog says

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights alleged that the victims included 56 children, adding that 64 of the civilians, including 22 children, died in airstrikes by a US-led coalition.

  • Published:
Shi'ite paramilitary fighters hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down during victory celebrations after returning from Tikrit in Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad April 4, 2015. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed play Shi'ite paramilitary fighters hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down during victory celebrations after returning from Tikrit in Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad April 4, 2015. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

No fewer than 182 civilians have been killed since US-backed, Kurdish-led forces launched an offensive to seize the strategic northern Syrian city of Minbij from Islamic State jihadists at the end of May, a monitoring group said on Sunday, July 10.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights alleged that the victims included 56 children, adding that 64 of the civilians, including 22 children, died in airstrikes by a US-led coalition.

The Kurdish-led Democratic Forces of Syria (DFS) launched an offensive against Minbij, which lies about 30 kilometres from the Turkish border on May 31, backed by intensive coalition airstrikes.

Capturing the city and its hinterland would cut Islamic State off from its last access route to the border and the outside world.

The DFS quickly surrounded Minbij but had made slow progress since then, with Islamic State jihadists fiercely resisting in street fighting inside the city.

The Observatory said that 29 rebel and al-Qaeda fighters, including field commanders, had been killed in fierce battles as they attempted to force government troops back from the last road into rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

Government forces cut off the Castello Road on Thursday, effectively imposing a siege on the estimated 250,000 to 300,000 residents remaining in the divided city's bomb-shattered eastern sector.

Also on Sunday, the World Food Programme (WFP), announced that it had airlifted 40 tons of food to the mostly Kurdish-held north-east of Syria.

A total of 25 flights are planned over the coming month, prioritising supplies for displaced people in shelters and unfinished buildings, female-headed households and some vulnerable Iraqi refugees, the UN agency said.

Syria's north-eastern al-Hassakeh province had been inaccessible for aid agencies as land routes within the country are controlled by Islamic State and the Turkish and Iraqi borders had been largely shut in recent months.

Aid deliveries had been a contentious issue in the Syrian war, with the government frequently preventing or restricting convoys to rebel-held areas besieged by its forces despite widespread malnutrition and some cases of death by starvation.

Three besieged areas on the outskirts of Damascus had received aid supplies, for the first time since 2012, after an international deadline for relief provisions expired at the beginning of June.

The U.S., Russia - an ally of the Syrian government - and other countries had jointly announced that if humanitarian aid was denied to besieged areas from June 1, WFP would pursue air drops.

The UN, however, subsequently made it clear that it was still focusing on getting approval for overland deliveries, saying airlifts would be technically difficult and could not be carried out without government approval.

READ: Kuwait foils three Islamic State attacks - State media

The Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful protests against al-Assad's regime, had turned into a four-way war between the government, mainly Islamist rebels, the Islamic State extremist group and leftist Kurdish forces.

Some 4.8 million Syrians had fled the country since 2011, with another 6.6 million displaced inside its borders, according to the latest UN estimates.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.

X
Advertisement