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US-led coalition denies civilian 'air raid massacre' in Syria

The US-led coalition was accused of the deadly air raid [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 May, 2017

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The US-led coalition against IS has denied its aircraft carried out an air raid in eastern Syria which left dozens of people dead earlier this week.

The US-led coalition has denied its planes carried out a deadly air strike on an Islamic State group-held town in eastern Syria this week, which allegedly killed dozens of civilians.

A statement by the coalition to AFP said the only strikes carried out by its aircraft on 14 and 15 May were outside Albu Kamal, the Syrian border town the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the massacre took place.

"The open-source reports of civilian casualties referred to locations inside the city itself, where we did not conduct strikes during the time period of alleged civilian casualties," the coalition said.

"There were other non-coalition nations conducting strikes in Abu Kamal on the 14th and morning of the 15th though," the statement added.

The coalition did not specify which countries it was referring to, although Syrian regime and Russian aircraft both operate in eastern Syria.

Iraq's air force, meanwhile, has also carried out strikes against IS fighters in Deir az-Zor, including inside Albu Kamal.

The comments follow a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that said coalition air raids on 15 May on Albu Kamal killed 62 people, including 42 civilians.

Among the dead from the attack close to the Syria-Iraq border were 11 children, the monitor said.

The coalition said it carried out a strike on al-Akeryshi village in Raqqa province on 14 May and had "forwarded the allegations of civilian casualties to our team for assessment".

The Observatory said those strikes killed 14 people, including 12 women travelling home on the back of pick-up trucks after working in nearby fields.

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 argue the real figure is significantly higher.

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