US-led strike kills 15 civilians in Syria

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BEIRUT:- At least 15 civilians were killed and dozens wounded in air strikes by a US-led coalition in Syria on Thursday, a monitor said.

The strikes hit a northern town controlled by the ISIS militant group, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Airstrikes by international coalition fighter jets after midnight (Thursday morning) on the town of Ghandoura killed at least 15 civilians and wounded dozens,” said the monitoring group’s head, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The town lies 23 kilometres (14 miles) northwest of Manbij, a strategic waypoint between Turkey and the militant stronghold of Raqqa.

The strikes came a day after the coalition opened a formal investigation to determine whether its air strikes last week near Manbij claimed civilian lives.

The Observatory and local residents said strikes on July 19 had killed dozens of civilians, including children.

After examining “internal and external information”, the coalition determined that there was sufficient credible evidence of civilian victims to open a formal inquiry, said spokesman Colonel Chris Garver on Wednesday.

Garver said last week that the militant had been mounting exceptionally fierce resistance in Manbij, which is being besieged by US-backed Syrian forces.

The main Syrian opposition group had urged the US-led coalition to suspend its bombardments following the strikes.

Amnesty International has called on the coalition to redouble its efforts to prevent civilian deaths and to investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law.

According to an Observatory toll, around 600 Syrians including 136 children have been killed in coalition air strikes since September 2014.

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