Sixteen civilians including a child were killed Wednesday in a US-led coalition air strike near Raqqa city in northern Syria, according to a report by a human rights monitor.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the strike hit “the village of Al-Haisha in the northern Raqqa countryside, which is about 40 kilometers from the city of Raqqa,” adding that the number of dead is likely to rise due to the number of critically injured.
The coalition air strike comes days after the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the start of a battle to “retake Raqqa” from the Islamic State group.
The advance by the SDF, part of the battle announced on Saturday to expel the Islamic State group from Raqqa — the organization’s most prominent base in Syria, pushed dozens of civilians to flee out of fear the fighting in their areas would intensify.
AFP reported Tuesday the displacement of civilians from the villages and towns toward which the SDF were progressing, reflecting the beliefs of a number of people from these villages, including Al-Haisha, and their fear that the Islamic State group would use them as human shields in confronting the SDF and that the coalition aircraft would hit them.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.