Coalition raidsonSyria’s Raqa kill 29 civilians in 24 hours: Monitor
Beirut, Lebanon - US-led coalition raids on Raqa in northern Syria have killed 29 civilians over the past 24 hours as Americanbacked forces battle the Islamic State group, a monitor said on Tuesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine women and 14 children had been killed in coalition air raids on Raqa city since Monday evening.
It said 14 of the dead were members of one family. The toll could rise because of the number of critically wounded, it added.
The American-led coalition battling IS in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday entered its fourth year of operations.
It began on August 8, 2014 in Iraq, moving later to battle the extremists in neighbouring Syria.
The United States is backing an Arab-Kurdish alliance that is fighting to oust IS from Raqa, its main Syrian stronghold, and the province of the same name.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, has reg- ularly reported civilians killed by coalition strikes.
It says it determines what aircraft carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.
The United States has admit- ted that its strikes caused the deaths of 624 civilians since 2014. Rights organisations say the number is far higher.
United Nations war crimes investigators in June expressed alarm at the rise in civilian deaths in the fight for Raqa.
Intensified airstrikes had caused ‘staggering loss of civilian life’ and led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, head of the UN Commission of Inquiry, told reporters.
Captured by the extremists in 2014, Raqa became a symbol of atrocities by IS in its self-declared ‘caliphate’.
The Syrian Democratic Forces alliance began a campaign to capture the city last year, slowly encircling the city before breaking into it for the first time in June.
Syrian families who fled from the IS group’s stronghold of Raqa arrive in the village of Hawi al Hawa, less than 2km west of the city, on Tuesday