At least 23 killed in IS, regime shelling of Syria city: monitor

Russia launched its Syrian air campaign on September 30 (AFP Photo/)

Beirut (AFP) - At least 23 people were killed in the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor Tuesday, including nine children when a school was shelled by the Islamic State group, a monitor said.

At least 24 more people died in air raids or fighting outside the capital, in the Latakia province bastion of President Bashar al-Assad and in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.

The Observatory said the students, all girls, were among 11 killed in IS shelling of the school in the regime-controlled Hrabesh quarter of the divided city.

The remaining 12 died in government air raids on the Hamidiya district, the Observatory said.

"The toll is likely to worsen as some of the injured are in serious condition," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP early on.

The Syrian government condemned the attack.

"The terrorist rockets will not prevent us from continuing our mission of education," said Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi.

IS has controlled nearly all of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province since 2013, but half of the regional capital remains in government hands.

In recent weeks, the US-led coalition and Russia's military have targeted IS jihadists in the province with air strikes.

Meanwhile, at least 19 civilians, among them children, were killed in regime air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta region, a rebel bastion just outside the capital, the Observatory said.

And in the west of the country, at least 20 air strikes likely to have been carried out by Russia caused injuries in Latakia province, said the Observatory.

Elsewhere in Latakia, forces loyal to Assad fought fierce battles with Islamist rebels, leaving several dead on both sides, it added.

The government has been trying for months to recapture rebel-controlled areas of the Mediterranean coastal province.

Last week, troops and allied militia pushed rebel fighters from a hilltop, Jabal Nuba, which overlooks a strategic highway in Assad's heartland.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Aleppo, five people were killed and dozens wounded over 24 hours in air raids on the town of Al-Bab, said the Observatory.

The Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, also said IS carried out nine execution-style killings in the same province over the past few days.

Aleppo province is almost entirely in the hands of Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and its Islamist allies, as well as IS.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 250,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes since it broke out in March 2011.