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Syrian government, Russian strikes kill 27 civilians in Homs: Monitor

The Syrian government and Russia have also jointly carried out airstrikes on Hama and Latakia on Wednesday
An unverified photo from Syria's Homs province on Wednesday after airstrikes (Twitter/@Alaa4Syr)

At least 27 civilians were killed on Wednesday and dozens more wounded after joint Syrian government and Russia bombardment of several residential areas in the central Homs province, according to a monitoring group and a Syrian source.

"Regime warplanes conducted raids on Rastan, Talbisseh and Zaafarani in Homs province," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He said five people had been killed in Zaafarani, seven in Rastan and 15 in Talbisseh.

"The number of dead may rise because there are dozens of wounded, some of whom are in critical condition, and others who are still under the rubble," the observatory reported.

Just hours after the Russian parliament unanimously voted to give Russian President Vladimir Putin permission to use his country's airforce in Syria, a Syrian security source told AFP on Wednesday that Russia had targeted locations in Homs, Hama and Latakia provinces alongside Syrian government aircraft.

The three locations that were targetted in Homs are controlled by various rebel, Islamist and militant groups including al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Other parts of Homs province are controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group, while forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still hold most of the provincial capital.

Last week, a spokesman from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said Iraq agreed to set up a coordinating group with Russia, Syria and Iran to fight the Islamic State group.

On Wednesday, fierce clashes between government forces and IS militants raged in the Shaer gas field, the largest in Homs province.

IS has tried for months to seize the gas field, one of the last still in government hands.