Airstrikes targeting a livestock market in the village of Oqayrabat, in the Hama Province, killed at least 11 civilians and wounded dozens of others over the weekend, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Exactly who carried out the strikes isn’t totally certain, though the Observatory said they were “probably” conducted by Russian warplanes, targeting an area frequented by ISIS forces. Russian and Syrian warplanes were active in the vicinity.
The village is northwest of Palmyra, which was captured last week by the Syrian military. It is along a road that has frequently been used by ISIS forces to traverse back and forth between Homs and Hama Provinces, and it would be unsurprising if either Russia or Syria wanted to deny ISIS the use of that route.
Still, there is no sign that ISIS forces were present in Oqayrabat at the time of the strikes, which makes it unclear why anyone would target the marketplace like this. Oqayrabat was similarly targeted around the most recent ISIS capture of Palmyra, back in December, and its proximity appears to have made it a target for some reason.