Syrian regime raids on
IS kill 11 civilians

Syrian fighter jet. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)

BEIRUT - Syrian air strikes on Islamic State (IS) jihadists in the north of the country killed 11 civilians and wounded 17 Thursday, a monitoring group said.


"Warplanes carried out six raids on Thursday against Al-Bab," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.


"Eleven people were killed, including women and children, and 17 were wounded when fighters fired rockets into a crowded area near a market in the town," southeast of Aleppo city.


IS has been pulling fighters out of the area, with some of its commanders saying the move was in case of Syrian army bombardment and possible American air strikes.


US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he had ordered the American military to expand its operations against IS, which has seized a swathe of Iraq and Syria and committed horrifying atrocities.


"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy," Obama said in a television address, using an alternative acronym for the group.


"I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq."


Fighting at Marea north of Aleppo Thursday killed four rebels from a group holding the area and 11 IS fighters seeking to seize it, the Observatory said.


It added that in the central province of Hama, regime forces supported by Iranian officers retook a large part of the Halfaya area from rebels and jihadists of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front.

Syrian fighter jet. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)