US-led airstrikes kill at least 70 ISIS terrorists, injure 300 in Syria

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Beirut/Damascus/Amman, Sep 23: At least 70 ISIS jihadists and al Qaeda militants were killed and over 300 injured in north and eastern Syria, as the US-led alliance launched airstrikes on Islamic extremists, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdul Rahman, told Efe news agency.

The death toll is expected to be higher. The Syrian government was informed in advance about the operation on its territory.

As per an IANS report, the fatalities included 50 members of the Nusra Front, affiliated to the Al Qaeda in Syria, who died in a rocket attack on their base in the western part of the northern city of Aleppo.

The rest were civilians, among them a woman and two minors, who were killed in a bombing on the Kafr Diryan village bordering the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

The alliance's warplanes hit bases of the IS in Raqaa, Deir al-Zur, al-Hasakah and the Aleppo governorates, Abdul Rahman said by phone. He added that positions of the Nusra Front were also targeted.

According to SOHR, the alliance launched more than 50 attacks over several hours on IS bases, many of which were evacuated last week.

US Defence Department spokesman John Kirby had announced hours earlier that his country and its allies had begun the air attacks.

The Washington Post and New York Times newspapers quoted official sources as saying that five Arab countries had taken part in the attacks -- Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The US on late Monday announced the beginning of the international operation against the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group on Syrian territory, without mentioning the Nusra Front.

Damascus announced on Tuesday that it supported and was ready for any international effort against the jihadi groups as long as it respected national sovereignty and is consistent with international decisions.

According to a Xinhua report, Washington had informed Syria of airstrikes against positions of the IS in Syria before Tuesday's strikes started.

The Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Syria's envoy to the UN was informed on Monday about the commencement of the US-led airstrikes against IS positions in Syria's northern province of al-Raqqa, adding the airstrikes started before daybreak Tuesday.

The ministry did not mention the Syrian government's response to the airstrikes.

Meanwhile, Jordan announced on Tuesday that its warplanes took part in the US-led air operation against the IS jihadis in northern Syria, an Efe report from Amman said.

In a statement reported by the official news agency Petra, a source at army headquarters said that the Jordanian air force destroyed "several targets".

Without mentioning Syria, the statement said that the strikes were aimed at "positions of terrorist groups that are used as platforms to launch operations against Jordanian territory".

"The armed forces will not hesitate to give a decisive answer to these groups, as they will not tolerate harming border security and Jordanian citizens," the statement said.

All the aircraft and their crew returned safely to their bases, the statement added.

AFP, the news agency reported, "The strikes marked a turning point in the war against IS militants, who have seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, and declared an Islamic "caliphate".

OneIndia News

(With agencies' inputs)

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