A war monitor said airstrikes, thought to be by planes from a U.S.-led military coalition, killed 20 civilians including children, in two parts of the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor, the Britain-based war monitoring group said yesterday. Jets "believed to belong to the international coalition" struck the town of al-Bukamal in the south of the province near the Iraqi border, killing three militants and 13 civilians including children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The monitoring group said airstrikes also killed seven civilians in the town of al-Husainiyah further north along the Euphrates river.
There was no immediate comment from the coalition which has said it tries to avoid civilian deaths in its bombing campaigns against Daesh militants in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Earlier this month, the coalition said its raids there and in Iraq and unintentionally killed at least 220 civilians. But other monitors say the number is much higher. Reports of civilian deaths from U.S. airstrikes across Syria and Iraq soared to an all-time high, the reports said. According to Airwars, a British monitoring group, there were 1,472 casualties linked to U.S. airstrikes in March.
Daesh militants control most of Deir al-Zor province, which links territory they hold in Syria and Iraq, and parts of the provincial capital, which has the same name. The Syrian regime still controls some parts of Deir al-Zor city, including a nearby military air base, where Daesh has besieged about 200,000 people lacking food and medicine for around two years. Bashar al-Assad and its forces, backed by Russian air power, have been fighting back against Daesh assaults in the area.