Ac­tivists: Coali­tion strike kills 20 in ISIS-held part of Syria

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

BEIRUT — Syr­ian ac­tivists are blam­ing the U.S.led coali­tion for an early morn­ing airstrike Wed­nes­day that killed at least 20 civil­ians in a part of Syria held by the Is­lamic State group.

The Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said 20 peo­ple were killed and about 30 wounded in the strike on the vil­lage of Heisha. The vil­lage is north of the ex­trem­ist group’s de facto cap­i­tal, Raqqa.

U.S. Col. John Dor­rian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led forces, said the coali­tion had con­ducted strikes in the area but could not con­firm whether there were civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.

The in­ter­na­tional force is fly­ing dozens of sor­ties in the re­gion in sup­port of a U.S.-backed push by Syr­ian Kur­dish forces on Raqqa.

Mean­while, the U.S. military says 64 civil­ians were killed and eight were in­jured in 24 coali­tion airstrikes in Iraq and Syria over the past year, based on newly com­pleted in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand says the lat­est to­tals bring the num­ber of civil­ians killed in airstrikes in the fight against the Is­lamic State group to 119, with an ad­di­tional 37 in­jured.

Col. John Thomas, Cen­tral Com­mand spokesman, says the in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­cluded that the proper military process was fol­lowed in each in­ci­dent.

The cases an­nounced Wed­nes­day in­clude strikes f rom l ast Novem­ber through Septem­ber. They don’t in­clude a July airstrike that may have killed 56 civil­ians near Man­bij, Syria, and a Septem­ber at­tack.

JEFFREY T. BARNES/AP

Bulb sparks blaze: More than 100 fire­fight­ers strug­gled to con­tain a mas­sive blaze at a for­mer Beth­le­hem Steel site in Lack­awanna, N.Y. The fire is be­lieved to have bro­ken out Wed­nes­day when a hot light bulb fell onto card­board inside a busi­ness.

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