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Syria Launches More Deadly Strikes on Raqqa

  • VOA News

People walk past the wreckage of a car outside Raqqa Museum, after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern Syria, Nov. 25, 2014.

People walk past the wreckage of a car outside Raqqa Museum, after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern Syria, Nov. 25, 2014.

Syrian warplanes have carried out more airstrikes on Raqqa, the main city held by the Islamic State group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a number of civilians were killed and others wounded in one of the strikes on a house belonging to a judge. The monitoring group says other attacks targeted schools, a hospital, an Islamic State checkpoint and a building taken over by IS militants.

The Reuters news service reports seven people were killed in the latest strikes, including five from one family.

The Observatory has said at least 95 people were killed Tuesday, including at least 52 civilians, in attacks in Raqqa.

The United States says it is "horrified" by reports the Syrian government killed scores of civilians during airstrikes on Raqqa, the main city held by the Islamic State group.

The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 95 people were killed Tuesday, including at least 52 civilians, in attacks on an industrial area and popular market in Raqqa.

In Washington late Wednesday, the U.S. State Department condemned the "ongoing human rights abuses and violations of international law" in Syria. Singling out the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for blame, the U.S. statement said the "continued slaughter of Syrian civilians further exposes [its] callous disregard for human life."

Although U.S. military action in the area around Syria has concentrated on the Islamic State group, the State Department emphasized that the Assad regime must be toppled if Syria is to reach a political solution free from violence:

"We've been clear," the U.S. statement said, "that Assad long ago lost all legitimacy to govern and that the Syrian regime must be held responsible for its brutality and atrocities against the Syrian people."

Syria has battled since March 2011 against a range of opposition groups, and the country is split into areas dominated by various groups. In recent months, extremists from the Islamic State group have seized large portions of eastern Syrian territory, declaring it to be part of their self-imposed "caliphate" stretching from Syria into neighboring Iraq.

Islamic State fighters have boasted of their battlefield gains and broadcast details of their grisly tactics, such a video earlier this month that showed militants beheading 18 men described as Syrian soldiers.

The U.S. has carried out hundreds of strikes against the Islamic militants in both Syria and Iraq. Currently, American military officials are said to be shifting warplanes from Afghanistan to the Middle East to intensify their fight against the Islamic State group.

Air Force officials said a squadron of A-10 Thunderbolt fighter jets, which recently arrived in Kuwait from Afghanistan, are able to conduct low-altitude missions at slow speeds, giving pilots more time to identify targets. The New York Times also reported that six armed Reaper drones are being moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait.

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