At least 53 civilians, including 21 children, perished early on Monday morning when Russian air strikes hit “residential buildings” in a village held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, a monitor said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit the village of Al-Shafah in Deir Ezzor province, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. The Observatory relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.
The monitor had initially given a death toll of 34 civilians but the number spiked after more bodies were recovered. “The toll increased after removing the debris in a long day of rescue operation,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP, adding the strikes hit “residential buildings”. At least 18 people were also wounded in the air raids, he added.