Three air strikes against the town of al-Quriyah, in Syria’s northeastern Deir Ezzor Province, killed at least 82 people over the weekend, and according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, about 58 of them are believed to be civilians.
Quriyah is a suburb of the Deir Ezzor capital, and is held by ISIS. The airstrikes reportedly targeted ISIS forces who had set up a perimeter around the residential area, but also hit the civilian areas of the town, including the mosque.
ISIS holds most of Deir Ezzor Province, but the capital city and surrounding area has been contested. For months, the Syrian military has held the area around the airport and some other parts of the city, while ISIS has held the key suburbs and made some unsuccessful pushes into government territory.
The Deir Ezzor military airport is seen as particularly important because it is one of the few air bases in the eastern part of the country that has remained under government control throughout the war, and has served as a staging area for airstrikes against the surrounding ISIS territory. The strikes on Quriyah likely portend another planned offensive to back ISIS up a bit more.
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