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A monitoring group said, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad hammered the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa with more than two dozen air strikes on Sunday, targeting areas controlled by the Islamic State militant group. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has tracked violence on all sides of the conflict that began in March 2011, said at least 31 fighters from the Islamic State were killed and dozens wounded in the air strikes that hit Raqqa city and the surrounding areas. This has allowed the group to thrive and also weaken less hardline opposition groups that are backed by the West.



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