IS shelling kills 14 civilians in east Syria city: monitor

Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor has been besieged by IS since early 2015 and is home to an estimated 100,000 people (AFP Photo/AHMAD ABOUD) (AHMAD ABOUD/AFP/File)

Beirut (AFP) - Fourteen civilians were killed late Monday when Islamic State group jihadists shelled a government-controlled neighbourhood of Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor city, a monitor said.

Three children were among the dead in the regime-held Al-Joura district, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The shelling hit just before families were gathering to break the Ramadan fast," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Besieged by IS since early 2015, the regime-controlled third of Deir Ezzor city is home to an estimated 100,000 people.

Most of the surrounding oil-rich province is also controlled by IS.

"At least six mortar rounds hit the Al-Joura district. Daesh has been regularly hitting this neighbourhood with mortars," said Omar Abu Leila, an activist from Deir Ezzor 24, which publishes news on the city.

He said over 40 people had been wounded, including women and children.

"Some of them are in critical condition, but the health situation in the neighbourhood is deteriorating because of the lack of staff, medicine, and medical equipment," he told AFP.

The World Food Programme has been dropping humanitarian aid into Deir Ezzor since April 2016, and Russian and Syrian government planes have also carried out their own independent air drops.

More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011.