At least eight children were killed and many others were wounded in artillery shelling by regime forces targeting civilians trapped in the island of Hawija Katea in the Euphrates River near the city of Deir Ezzor.
Activists said that they had learned from relatives and family members still trapped inside the island that regime forces began the final push on Hawija Katea. They said that regime forces began the assault with firing a barrage of artillery shells on the besieged island, killing eight children and wounding many more.
Regime forces detained some 55 civilians, mostly children and women, who remained more than ten days trapped in the ISIS-held island, local activists added.
Civilians trapped inside the islands refuse to surrender themselves to the advancing regime forces for fear they will be executed, especially as regime forces carried out summary executions against civilians near the town of Mayadin in rural Deir Ezzor before they stormed the town a few weeks ago.
Activists said that militias of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) prevent civilians trapped inside Hawija Katea from crossing into the areas under their control on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. They added that the SDF militias handed the town of Husseiniya to regime forces and their allied foreign militias.
Syrian activists earlier launched a campaign on social media under the title “the last appeal,” calling on all actors on the ground to intervene and rescue civilians trapped in Hawija Katea. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)