05/03/2017, 10.04
SYRIA
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Hassakeh, Daesh attacks a refugee camp: 46 dead and dozens of injured, many civilians

Iraqi refugees and displaced Syrian refugees housed in the center. At least five suicide bombers  managed to get inside. Unsubstantiated voices speak of dozens of civilians seized in hostage. Today, Astana talks resumed by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Over 46 dead, mostly civilians, and dozens injured is the still-provisional toll from an attack launched by militia of the Islamic State (IS) on a refugee camp in Syria near the border with Iraq. Iraqi refugees fleeing from the areas occupied by Syrian and internally displaced Jihadists who have left their homes and lands because of the conflict are located in the area.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (Osdh), at least five suicide bombers were involved in the attack yesterday. They targeted the reception center in the region of Rajem al-Salibi, in the province of Hassakeh. "Some suicide bombers - the source adds -  managed to get into the field."

IS claimed the attack on its Aamaq propaganda site, claiming that a group of five jihadists had "attacked" a position of Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS) near the camp. After the explosions there were clashes between jihadist militias and combat groups.

About 300 families fled from Iraq or the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, largely controlled by IS (formerly Isis), are living in the camp. "We are dismayed and saddened," said the International Rescue Committee (IRC) volunteers - by this attack "involving civilian casualties”.

An Iraqi source, speaking to the BBC, states that militants had seized dozens of civilians during the assault on the reception center. However, so far there has been no further confirmation of the news even if an Iraqi activist claimed that "some of the wounded have lost contact with their family members."

In recent weeks, the Jihadist group has been repeatedly attacked in northern Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces, formed by Kurdish and Arab fighters and backed by US air raids. The coalition has made significant military victories, hunting most of the jihadists from Hassakeh.

Now the goal is to take control of the city of Tabqa, a strategically important hub in the Euphrates River valley. It constitutes a line of defense for Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State in Syria, and the ultimate goal of the offensive launched by Arab-Kurdish fighting groups with the support of the international coalition.

On the diplomatic front today, two days of talks in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, are being held, mediated by Turkey, Iran and Russia. The goal of the meeting is to ensure a lasting ceasefire throughout the country. However, the three previous summits held so far, with the participation of UN representatives and American observers, have not achieved tangible results with a view to peace.

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