Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

16 civilians killed in coalition strikes near Raqqa, monitor says

At least 16 civilians were killed in a USA -led coalition strike in the western countryside of al-Raqqa, the stronghold of the Daesh terrorist group in northern Syria, a monitoring group said.

"The coalition strikes hit Al-Baruda, a village about 15 kilometers (10 miles) west of Raqqa city", says Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Anti-IS group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said many were displaced residents of Homs province.

Between April 23 and May 23 of this year, coalition strikes killed a total of 225 civilians in Syria, the Britain-based Observatory said.

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In November, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, started a major offensive aimed at capturing al-Raqqa, which has been under IS control since 2014.

Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS, has been the target of the USA -led coalition, which is backing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their push against the IS in Raqqa countryside.

The coalition, which says it takes all reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians, insists the figure is far lower. The US rarely offers statements on incidents in which they kill civilians, mostly because they've made such an overt, concerted effort to massively underreport civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, and bringing attention to individual incidents raises unwelcome questions about why those already confirmed incidents didn't end up in the official reports on death tolls.

A military source identified him as Abu Musab al-Masri and said he was one of 13 senior figures from the jihadist group to have died during recent army operations east of the second city of Aleppo.

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