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Coalition strikes 'killing civilians by the hundreds' in Raqqa

Last month had one of the highest civilian casualty tolls since 2014 [Twitter/PalmyraCoordination]

Date of publication: 25 May, 2017

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At least 16 civilians have been killed in a suspected US-led coalition airstrike in a village in Syria's Raqqa province this week, joining hundreds killed in similar strikes in April-May.
At least 16 civilians were killed this week in a suspected US-led coalition air raid in a village in Syria's Raqqa province, which is held by the extremist Islamic State group, a monitor and local activists have said.

The civilians, including five children from the same family, were killed late on Tuesday in a strike on the village of al-Barouda, which lies 15 kilometres west of IS' de-facto capital of Raqqa, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

"Most of those killed had fled eastern parts of the province of Homs," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently released the names of the dead, who had fled from the village of al-Sukhna in Homs province.

The activist-operated Palmyra Coordination posted pictures of some the victims on its official Twitter account.

US-led air strikes on Syria killed a total of 159 civilians in April, the second highest 30-day toll since the campaign began in 2014, Airwars said on Tuesday. The Observatory, however, has said 225 were killed last month.

"With three full months of airstrike and civilian casualty data from Donald Trump’s presidency, we are now seeing the emergence of clear trends," said Director of Airwars Chris Woods.

"Around Raqqa in particular – where most strikes are by the US – we are seeing high civilian casualties where six months ago we would not. This is the clearest evidence yet that protections for civilians on the battlefield appear to have been scaled back," Woods added.

In response to an e-mail, the US-led international coalition said it would forward the allegation to its assessment team "to be looked at more closely."

"Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the Coalition will not abandon our commitment to our partners because of [IS'] brutal tactics terrorising civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals and religious sites," it said.

Earlier this month, the US military said that coalition air raids in Iraq and Syria had "unintentionally" killed a total of 352 civilians since 2014.

More than 320,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011.

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