Airstrikes Hit Syria's Aleppo 09/24 12:53
BEIRUT (AP) -- Airstrikes have targeted rural Aleppo in northern Syria
Sunday for the first time in months since a cease-fire took hold in the
province, killing one, activists and a war monitoring group said.
Also Sunday, the Central Military Media, affiliated with the Syrian
government, reported that Iranian drones successfully struck vehicles of the
Islamic State group along the Syria-Iraq border in the south. The report didn't
say when the strike occurred, but showed purported footage of it.
Previously, the U.S-led coalition had downed Iranian drones in the area,
considering them hostile because they dropped ammunition near a base where U.S.
troops operated alongside allied Syrian opposition fighters. Since the two
strikes in June, one of two U.S. bases in the area has shut down after Syrian
and allied forces essentially cut off access to it, foiling plans to use the
area as a launch pad for operations in eastern Syria.
Meanwhile, Syrian media reported that government and allied troops have
seized Maadan, a town north of Deir el-Zour city and south of Raqqa, which has
been scene to intense fighting with Islamic State militants. State TV
al-Ikhbariya filmed from inside the town, showing plumes of black smoke rising
into the sky. The TV reporter said the town, which links the militant group's
two strongholds now under attack, served as a key station for IS oil transport
The report hailed the capture of the town a day earlier as a major victory
for the pro-government troops, saying they have now rid the western bank of the
Euphrates river of the militant group and secured the road from Deir el-Zour to
Seizing Maadan comes amid a government offensive advancing on Deir el-Zour
city. The capture of Maadan, 70 km (43 miles) west of Deir el-Zour, also brings
the pro-Syrian forces closer to Raqqa city, where the U.S.-led coalition is
backing a campaign against IS.
Elsewhere, warplanes continued Sunday to pound Syria's rural Idlib and Hama,
where insurgents led by an al-Qaida-linked group began an offensive against
government troops in the area. The Syrian Civil Defense said one person was
killed in Aleppo bombing, which it said targeted a cow farm.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 40
insurgents were killed in airstrikes Saturday on a village in northern Idlib.
Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Observatory, said the airstrikes targeted a
base in Mardkih that belongs to Faylaq al-Sham, a fighting group that had
agreed to the cease-fire. The group posted a video a day before the airstrike
showing its fighters preparing a mortar attack on government areas north of
Hirbnafsah in Hama.
The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said its rescuers
came under attack Saturday from airstrikes as they were carrying out search and
rescue operations in Mardikh. A video posted online by the group shows one of
their volunteers injured in the attack.
A "de-escalation" deal reached in May has dramatically reduced the violence
in most of Syria. Al-Qaida-linked militants launched an offensive earlier this
week against government forces in northern Hama, prompting an intense
Russia-backed aerial campaign against Hama and Idlib. Sunday's airstrikes in
Aleppo appeared to have targeted Faylaq al-Sham bases in the province,
according to Abdurrahman.