At least 21 civilians have been killed and 11 wounded in suspected Russian air strikes in the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, Al Jazeera has learnt. The warplanes on Thursday targeted several buildings in the city, which has been under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group since early 2014.
Ghareb al-Omawi, a local activist, said two firefighters were among those killed. “Three firetrucks were targeted in the air strikes killing two firefighters. Residential areas were targeted and 21 civilians were killed,” he told Al Jazeera. “This is the routine here in Raqqa, this is the reality we live in.”
Al-Omawi is a member of the Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently group, launched in April 2014 with the goal of exposing the “atrocities committed” by the Syrian government and ISIL. A member of the collective, Ahmad Mohamed al-Mousa, was killed by a group of masked and armed men in Idlib on Thursday, al-Omawi told Al Jazeera.
In November, the group was awarded the 2015 international press freedom awardby the Committee to Protect Journalists. In another development, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least seven civilians were killed in suspected Russian air strikes in Aleppo suburbs.