22 Syrians die in strikes as Russia, Turkey plan truce

Updated: Dec 29, 2016, 10:48 IST | Agencies

Victims include 10 children in attack carried out by an unidentified aircraft in an IS-held village in eastern Syria

The civilians were from two families at Hojna in Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq. Pic/PTI
The civilians were from two families at Hojna in Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq. Pic/PTI

Beirut/Ankara: While Russia and Turkey prepare an agreement for a ceasefire plan for all of Syria, air strikes carried out by unidentified aircraft killed at least 22 civilians, including 10 children, in a village held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, a monitor said yesterday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the civilians were from two families at Hojna in Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq and is the country’s second biggest province after Homs.

The oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor is almost totally under IS control and has been regularly targeted by a US-led military coalition. The only part of the eastern province outside of IS control is its capital, which is also named Deir Ezzor and is held by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ceasefire agreement
Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign minister said while Turkey and Russia have agreed on a ceasefire, Ankara would not budge on its opposition to President Bashar al-Assad staying in power. The comments by Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday appeared to signal a tentative advance in talks aimed at reaching a truce, but the insistence that Assad must go will do little to smooth negotiations with Russia, his biggest backer.

“There are two texts ready on a solution in Syria. One is about a political resolution and the other is about a ceasefire. They can be implemented any time,” said Cavusoglu in Ankara. He said Syria’s opposition would never back Assad.

Jordan sentences 5 IS members to death by hanging
Jordan’s official news agency says the State Security Court has sentenced five alleged members of the Islamic State group to death by hanging. The Petra news agency said yesterday that 15 other alleged IS members were given sentences ranging from three to 15 years in prison with hard labour.

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