BEIRUT: Hundreds of Kurds fleeing Islamic State-held villages in northern Syria amid a wave of mass abductions have come under fire, with several killed or wounded, opposition activists and a Kurdish official said Saturday.
In eastern Syria, meanwhile, airstrikes on a village controlled by the extremist group have killed at least 30 people and wounded many others, opposition activists said.
Activist Omar Abu Leila, who is from the eastern city of Deir el-Zour but currently lives in Europe, said Saturday’s airstrikes targeted a mosque in the village of Qourieh, killing at least 30 people. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 46 people were killed in Qourieh, including children. It says 31 of the dead were civilians and the rest have not been identified.
Abu Leila said the airstrikes were carried out by Russian warplanes. Russia has denied targeting civilians.
Qourieh is in the province of Deir el-Zour, which borders Iraq. Most of the province is ruled by the extremist group.
In the northern province of Aleppo, the hundreds of Kurds fled as the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed and predominantly Kurdish militia, clashed with IS inside Manbij, a key stronghold of the extremist group. The SDF have pushed into the town from the southern edge, capturing grain silos and flour mills, according to the Observatory.
One family who fled was struck by a mine on Friday that killed two family members and wounded the other three, Sherfan Darwish, an SDF spokesman, told the Associated Press. He said a 10-year-old girl was killed by IS sniper fire on Friday. “Civilians are defying death in order to leave areas controlled by Daesh,” Darwish said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
The exodus began after IS abducted about 900 Kurdish civilians in Aleppo province over the past three weeks and forced them to build fortifications for the extremists in retaliation for the Kurdish-led assault.