At least 30 civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh terrorists carried out airstrikes in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr on Friday.
Local sources said the airstrikes struck a residential area on the outskirts of the city of al-Bukamal, which lies on the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq.
Many others, including women and children, were injured in the overnight airstrikes, with medical sources indicating that the death toll may rise due to the critical condition of some of the wounded.
The US has been conducting airstrikes inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. It has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.
On December 14, 2017, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stated that the US-led coalition was indeed targeting civilian facilities and providing Daesh terrorists with cover.
The latest US airstrikes come a day after the Syrian army entered the militant-held part of the southern city of Dara'a and hoisted the national flag near the city's post office.
The final push into the city happened after militants agreed to put down their arms through a deal facilitated by a Russian military delegation.
Earlier on Thursday, militant officials and witnesses said a Russian military delegation had entered Dara'a's terrorist-controlled area and begun negotiations over the region's handover to the Syrian government.
Two armored vehicles with senior Russian officers entered the al-Shayah area and began talks with commanders from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) on implementing the terms of the surrender deal.
Since June 19, the Syrian army has been conducting the operation in Dara'a, which borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights.
Dara’a’s return to the Syrian government control would cut the much-reported collaboration between anti-Damascus militants and Israel which has beefed up its military presence in the Golan Heights in recent days.
Dara'a city was the birthplace of the sedition that began in March 2011 before morphing into a foreign-backed militancy that continues to this day.
Russia warns militants 'Idlib will be next'
Meanwhile, opposition-linked Smart Syria news agency cited an FSA spokesman as saying that Russian officials had warned the militant group's negotiators in Dara'a that they plan to launch an attack on the northern Syrian province of Idlib in September.
According to Ibrahim Jibawi, a spokesman for the FSA's Southern Front Central Operations Room, the Russians advised militants during a meeting in the Dara'a province town of Busra al-Sham not to continue north after Dara'a.
"There was a warning by the Russians for the Free Army not to go to Idlib....'After Dara'a, we'll go to Idlib'," Jibawi told SMART.
The news agency also quoted an FSA military commander as saying that the militants were now fortifying their bases in Idlib in anticipation of a new offensive.
The foreign-backed crisis in Syria first broke out in Idlib in 2011. The province has been the focal point of the militant campaign against the Damascus government.
Syrian government forces retook Idlib a year later, but it fell back into the hands of militants in 2015, when a coalition of Takfiri terrorists, including then al-Qaeda offshoot al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, launched an offensive in the province, seized Idlib City and laid a siege to the Shia-majority villages of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya.
Currently, the dominant militant force in Idlib is the so-called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which was formed after Nusra Front rebranded itself as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and swallowed smaller militant groups there.
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