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May bloodiest month for Syria conflict in 2015

More than 6,000 people including at least 1,000 civilians were killed during the month of May an increase of 30 percent
A boy is rescued from the debris of a building after Syrian government forces bombed the Firdevs neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on 30 May 2015 (AA)

May was the bloodiest month so far this year in Syria, with at least 6,657 people killed throughout the war-ravaged country, a monitoring group said Monday.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the toll includes at least 1,285 civilians, more than half of whom were killed in government air raids.

This includes 236 children and 186 women who were killed by government forces as well as 82 other people who were believed to have been killed as a result of torture.

The UN’s Syria peace envoy Staffan de Mistura condemned government aerial bombardment of civilian areas over the weekend, calling it “totally unacceptable”.

The Observatory said rebels and Kurdish fighters made up 793 of those killed in May, while fighters from factions including the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front numbered 2,109.

IS killed 197 civilians and 104 fighters, the Observatory said.

Another 2,242 government forces were killed, most of them soldiers, the group added. The toll included 208 non-Syrian pro-government fighters, among them forces from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and 20 unidentified people.

The casualty figures represent an increase of more than 2,000 violent deaths - about a third - compared with April, when 4,458 were killed.

May saw several fierce offensives against government forces.

IS seized the historic city of Palmyra on 21 May, after a bloody nine-day offensive.

Fabrice Balanche, a geographer and analyst said that over the Iraq and Syria territories, told AFP that the Islamic State now controls an area the size of Italy, or equivalent to nearly 300,000 square kilometres.

Rebel groups led by al-Nusra Front secured gains against the government throughout the northwest province of Idlib.

Since the conflict turned violent in March 2011, more than 220,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee.