U.N.I.C.E.F.: air strikes kill 25 children in Syria

Jun 27, 2016, 5:37 AM EDT
Crisis in Syria
(Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/flickr)

Deadly air strikes in the town of al-Quria in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province killed at least 25 children on Saturday, said the United Nations children’s agency (U.N.I.C.E.F.). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that Russian warplanes pounded heavily crowded areas, including a mosque during prayer time. U.N.I.C.E.F. condemned the assault and called on all warring sides to keep children out of harm’s way.

A statement issued by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood said that Russian fighter jets bombarded the area with cluster bombs, even as locals tried to rescue the victims.

Al-Quria, which was seized by Islamic State fighters in 2014, has been a critical junction for the group, connecting it with territories occupied in Iraq, writes Reuters. The city, surrounded by rich oilfields, has been a key target for American and Russian air forces in recent months.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war that began in 2011, after President Bashar al-Assad launched a fierce campaign to quell pro-democracy protests, erupting as a part of the Arab Spring uprisings, notes Daily Sabah. The five-year conflict has claimed thousands of lives and left more than 10 million Syrians displaced, according to the U.N.