Air strikes conducted by Russia and the Syrian regime have killed at least 82 people, including 60 civilians in an Islamic State (Isis) held town in eastern Syria. The head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel Rahman, said the town of Al Qurayyah in Deir ez-Zor province was pounded. He said it was not yet clear if the other 22 killed were civilians or Isis (Daesh) fighters.
"IS fighters have now set up a security perimeter around the residential area, where the town's mosque is located," he said.
IS captured Deir ez-Zor from government forces in March 2015 and has since controlled most of the areas in the province.
Recently, Syrian government forces made advances in Raqqa province against the Islamists but were driven back by the militant group.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which consists of Arab and Kurdish fighters and backed by the US, overran a road junction in the south of Manbij city, a stronghold of the terror group, after capturing nearby grain silos overnight, SOHR said.
"The grain silos overlook more than half of Manbij. SDF fighters can climb to the top and monitor the city," Abdel Rahman said. SOHR added that IS forces were locked in an intense battle as the extremist group tried to defend their positions.
The Raqqa Revolutionary Brigades, an Arab element of the SDF alliance, confirmed this development, Al Jazeera reported.
Hundreds of Kurds trying to flee villages near Manbij came under fire from the terrorist group, a Kurdish official said. A spokesperson for SDF forces, Sherfan Darwish, told the Associated Press: "Civilians are defying death in order to leave areas controlled by Daesh."