An air strike has killed 28 civilians in one of the last holdouts of the Islamic State group in Syria's eastern province of Deir Ezzor, a monitor said on today.
It was not immediately clear if the strike was carried out by an Iraqi plane or by one of the US-led coalition fighting IS, the monitor said. Iraqi warplanes have recently carried out strikes against IS in eastern Syria, while coalition aircraft have been supporting Kurdish-led fighters battling the jihadists.
IS fighters have faced two separate offensives in Deir Ezzor on either side of the Euphrates River that cuts through the province. Russia-backed regime forces have pushed back the jihadists on the western side of the Euphrates, while the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance has battled them to its east.
IS fighters have been expelled from most urban centres in Syria, but analysts say they have retained their ability to pounce from the desert. Last month, an IS incursion into the town of Albu Kamal on the west of the Euphrates left dozens of pro-regime fighters dead.
Attacks spiked after the jihadists were evacuated from their last bastion outside Damascus in May, many heading to the Badiya desert, the Observatory said.
IS also has a presence in the northwestern province of Idlib, as well as in the southwestern province of Daraa where it has been battling opposition fighters in recent days.
The government and rebels last week announced a ceasefire agreement as the regime moves to retake control of the whole of the province, but IS is excluded from that deal.
Overnight Wednesday-Thursday, they seized the nearby village of Heet from rebels who had agreed to hand over their heavy weapons to the regime after deadly clashes.
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