At least 95 people have been killed and 120 injured in airstrikes by Syrian government forces on the northern city of Raqqa, a stronghold for the extremist group ISIS, a monitoring group said Wednesday.
The death toll from Tuesday’s airstrikes is expected to rise because many people are critically injured, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Government warplanes carried out at least 10 airstrikes in Raqqa, targeting the city’s al-Hani Mosque and the public souk, or market, the Observatory said. Its reports are based on information from a network of activists and residents on the ground in Syria.
Syria’s state TV and news agency SANA have not reported on military operations targeting Raqqa.
The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS has also carried out airstrikes in the area since the start of operations in September.
The extremists have made the city, which sits on the banks of the Euphrates River, the de facto capital of their self-declared “Islamic State” that stretches across large areas of Syria and Iraq.
The city is known as a place where ISIS puts training centers, weapons depots and accommodations for fighters. During the Syrian conflict, the group has also seized military bases from the Syrian regime near the city and in the wider Raqqa province.
Report: ISIS commander in Iraq killed
Meanwhile, in Iraq, a U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed a senior ISIS figure near the city of Hit along with dozens of others riding in a convoy of vehicles Tuesday, Sabah Karkhout, the head of Iraq’s Anbar provincial council, told CNN.
Senan Meteeb, named by ISIS as the “emir” or “prince” of the group’s military in the area in western Anbar province, was reportedly killed along with 30 other ISIS militants when the convoy was hit about 190 kilometers (118 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Meteeb was directly responsible for operations that led to the recent killing of hundreds of Albu Nimr Sunni tribesmen who fought against ISIS side-by-side with Iraqi security forces in Anbar province and Hit, Karkhout said.
Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, one of the leaders of the Albu Nimr tribe, confirmed to CNN that Meteeb was a top-ranking ISIS leader in the Hit area, but he said he had no confirmation from his men on the ground that he had been killed. If true, he said, Meteeb would be a high-value target.
Hit and neighboring Ramadi were holdouts in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province after ISIS swept in from Syria, taking town after town in the western province.
Albu Nimr tribesmen were among those who fought them until they began running of out weapons and supplies.