Russian air strikes killed 14 people in eastern Syria

Russian air strikes killed 14 people fleeing across a river on rafts in eastern Syria as renewed fighting across the country took an ever-mounting toll on civilians, a monitor said Friday.

The strikes, the latest in a string of such incidents this week, targeted a group crossing the Euphrates near the militant-held town of Mayadeen, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“They were crossing the river on makeshift rafts in a village south of Mayadeen,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that three children were among those killed overnight.

Russia has in recent days intensified its air raids in support of Syrian regime forces battling militants across the country.

Abdel Rahman said the civilians were fleeing the village of Mahkan, south of Mayadeen, which lies about 420 kilometers (260 miles) east of Damascus and is one of the Daesh group’s main remaining bastions.

Mayadeen has been under Daesh control since 2014 when the group swept across swathes of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a “caliphate”, but regime forces have tightened the noose around the town.

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