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Russian Air Strikes Likely Responsible for Death of 11 Civilians in Central Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An explosion following an air strike is seen in western Kobani neighbourhood, November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

At least 11 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded on Saturday in air strikes on a central Syrian village that a monitor said were likely carried out by Russia.

Oqayrabat lies northwest of Palmyra, the ancient desert city that was recaptured by Russian-backed government forces from ISIS on Wednesday.

“They are probably Russian air strikes,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that 45 people were also wounded.

Abdel Rahman said the raids on the village were part of “new military operations by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally targeting jihadist positions in Hama province”.

Syrian and Russian warplanes on Saturday were heavily bombing ISIS extremists north and east of Palmyra, which has changed hands several times in Syria’s nearly six-year war.

ISIS overran the city for the second time on December 11.

A day later, 53 civilians were killed in a barrage of raids on Oqayrabat and other nearby villages, according to the Observatory.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) also raised fears at the time that chemical weapons may have been used in air strikes on Oqayrabat.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.