Air raids kill 10 civilians near Syria's Al-Bab
LONDON - Air strikes killed 10 civilians including seven children in areas near a town held by the Islamic State group in north Syria on Saturday, a monitor said.
The strikes came as regime forces had advanced to within seven kilometres (four miles) of the jihadist group's bastion of Al-Bab, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Observatory said regime airstrikes killed a child in Tadif on Saturday, while Turkish air raids left nine civilians dead including six children in Al-Uraima and Bezaa.
President Bashar al-Assad's fighters have advanced towards Al-Bab from the southwest, seizing three villages since late Friday, the Observatory said.
Turkish forces, meanwhile, have gathered to the north of the town, the Britain-based monitor said.
Al-Bab has come under heavy assault in recent weeks, with Turkish, Russian and Syrian warplanes carrying out strikes in or around the town.
Turkish forces regularly carry out air strikes in support of a ground operation they launched in Syria last August targeting both IS and Kurdish fighters.
Several this month have been joint operations with Russia.
Turkish officials say the utmost is done to avoid causing civilian casualties, and have denied claims that civilians have been killed in previous raids.
The Observatory has also reported that 10 civilians were killed on Friday in Turkish air strikes and shelling in the area.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday that the latest round of raids had killed 22 IS "terrorists".
IS is not included in a fragile nationwide ceasefire in force since December 30 that led to peace talks jointly organised by Turkey, Russia and Iran in Kazakhstan this week.
Ankara has backed rebels since the conflict began with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in March 2011.
Moscow and Tehran have supported the government.
The Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria for its information, says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.