Beirut: Syrian government warplanes today struck an eastern city that is a stronghold of an Islamic militant group, killing at least 12 people, opposition activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jets struck targets around the city, including a market and the headquarters of the al-Qaida breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the provincial capital of Raqqa.
Another activist group, the Syria-based Local Coordination Committees also reported the strikes, saying that five people were killed in a single strike that targeted the Islamic State building.
An opposition activist in Raqqa reported seven airstrikes on Raqqa today. The activist, who goes by the name of Abu Noor, said in an interview over Skype that 13 bodies of civilians have been identified. He said the death toll will likely rise due to a large number of wounded in various attacks around the city.
The activists said only one of the airstrikes struck the Islamic State headquarters in the city, while others targeted other areas including a market.
The Islamic State, along with other rebel groups fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, captured Raqqa in March 2013.
Recently, the group has become a major fighting force in Iraq, capturing in recent days major cities and towns in northern Iraq from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
Also today, Syrian aircraft also carried out a series of air strikes in the eastern Deir el-Zour province near the border with Iraq, the Observatory said.
Islamic state fighters have been battling rival jihadi rebel groups for months in the oil-rich province. There were no immediate reports of reports of casualties.