Dozens die in US-led air attacks in Syria and Iraq: Report

#IslamicState

Women and children killed in suspected US-led coalition attacks, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The US military said in May that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq had 'unintentionally' killed 352 civilians since 2014 (AA)
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Monday 15 May 2017 21:19 UTC
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Dozens of civilians, including scores of women and children, have been reported killed by suspected US-led coalition air attacks in Syria and Iraq targeting the Islamic State group.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a suspected coalition air attack killed 23 civilians on Monday in Abu Kamal, a Syrian town held by IS on the border with Iraq. 

Many of those killed were civilians from other areas controlled by IS, including Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and neighbouring Iraq, according to the monitor.

"They hit a residential area at 3am while people were sleeping, causing the high toll," said the monitor's director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

He added that IS was using some builidngs in the target area as local headquarters.

The deaths came after another attack by the US-led coalition in Raqqa province on Sunday that killed 12 women, the monitor said.

It said the afternoon attack hit vehicles carrying farmworkers coming home from fields in the east of the province.

The monitor said it believed this strike had also been carried out by the US-led coalition.

US Central Command said it had conducted strikes against IS militants in Raqqa and Abu Kamal on 14 May.

In its statement, Centcom confirmed that it had "destroyed an ISIS pump jack and an ISIS well head" near Abu Kamal and that it had fired nine strikes near Raqqa.

The statement, however, did not mention the number of militants and civilians killed by the coalition air strikes. 

IS has lost swathes of the territory it once held in Raqqa province, though it still holds Raqqa city and some areas to the east.

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces is battling towards Raqqa, IS's most important remaining Syrian bastion.

Turkey had protested against plans by the US to arm Kurdish groups in northern Syria, describing the move as a relic of the Obama era. 

The US military said in May that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq had "unintentionally" killed 352 civilians since it launched operations against IS in 2014.

Human rights groups, however, say that the death toll may be much higher than reported as operations remain ongoing. 

Since the US-led coalition began to take back territory from the Islamic State group, more than 200,000 people have been reportedly displaced from the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in March that 45,000 people have fled west Mosul since the push to seize it from IS began in February.

Meanwhile, two car bombs killed at least six people and wounded several others in Syria's sprawling Rukban refugee camp near the border with Jordan late on Monday, a rebel official and a resident said.

One explosion was near a restaurant and the second targeted the camp's market nearby, they said.

"There are at least six civilians dead and the number is expected to rise," said Mohammad Adnan, a rebel official from Jaish Ahrar al-Ashair who runs the policing of the camp.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In January, a car bomb killed a number of people in the camp, and Islamic State militants have since launched attacks on Syrian rebels in the area.

Rukban, near the joint Syria-Iraq-Jordan border, is home to refugees and also to rebel groups, including the Jaish Ahrar al-Ashair, which fight both President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State movement. It was also hit by bomb attacks last year.