U.S.-led air strikes kill several civilians in Syria

Jul 19, 2016, 6:53 AM EDT
(Source: a.anis/flickr)
(Source: a.anis/flickr)

According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the U.S.-led coalition planes carried out a deadly strike on the northern Syrian town of Manbij on Monday, leaving at least 15 civilians dead. Six others were killed in another offensive in the nearby village of Tokhar, the monitoring group said. About 104 civilians, including 29 children and 16 women, have been killed by coalition strikes on Manbij since May 31.

The Syria Democratic Forces (S.D.F.), an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, began a major operation last month to retake the town of Manbij, which was seized by Islamic State militants in 2014, reports Al Jazeera. Under the cover of air strikes by the U.S.-led international coalition, the S.D.F. is advancing to the city center for a final assault.

Reports emerged that IS fighters had been preventing the civilians from leaving Manbij, holding them hostages to slow the advances of the security forces, writes Reuters. S.D.F. fighters have been facing tough resistance from IS, which has deployed snipers and planted land mines in the area.

In a separate development, Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees (U.N.R.W.A.), said that two separate strikes were reported near the U.N. agency's office in Damascus and close to Nairab refugee camp south of Aleppo.