Suspected US airstrike in Syria kills at least 54 people

US officials say strikes against Isis in both Syria and Iraq since 2014 have killed 800 civilians, but monitors put the toll at at least 6,000 people

Bethan McKernan
Beirut
Friday 13 July 2018 12:06
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Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) outside Al Bukamal as they prepare to relaunch a military campaign against Isis on 1 May, 2018
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) outside Al Bukamal as they prepare to relaunch a military campaign against Isis on 1 May, 2018

An airstrike has killed at least 54 people in an Isis-held area of Syria near the border with Iraq, a war monitor has said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as well as pro-Syrian government news outlets said the US-led coalition carried out the strike near the town of Al Bukamal, east of the Euphrates river, late on Thursday night.

Sana, Syria’s state news agency, put the number of dead at 30 in bombings which hit the villages of al Sousa and al Baghouz Fawkani on the river’s banks. In al Sousa, it is believed the strike hit families using an old ice factory as shelter.

Isis militants are also believed to be among the death toll.

Raqqa's fall: A journey into the heart of Isis’ failed caliphate

US Central Command said it may have carried out bombings “in the vicinity” of the area.

US forces, the Iraqi air force and Western partners are still launching air support in eastern Syria to assist the Arab-Kurdish coalition Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in crushing the remnants of Isis.

The international coalition has been repeatedly criticised by human rights watchdogs for not taking adequate care to protect civilians in the colossal airstrikes which have helped destroy the extremist group.

Officials admitted last year that strikes against Isis in both Syria and Iraq since 2014 have killed at least 800 civilians, but credible monitoring teams put the toll at at least 6,000 people.

Although the so-called caliphate has largely collapsed, there are still believed to be around 8,000 to 10,000 Isis fighters active in the desert on the Syria-Iraq border.

Recent deadly attacks on their former Syrian stronghold of Raqqa have raised fears the militants are regrouping as an insurgency movement.

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