US air strikes kill 28 Syrian civilians

Air strikes by the US-led coalition have killed 28 civilians, including seven children, in a village in northern Syria held by the Islamic State group, according to activists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said coalition aircraft struck the village of Al-Ghandour on Thursday.

The Observatory’s chief Rami Adurrahman said another 13 people were killed in the strikes but he could not say if they were IS fighters or civilians.

It was unclear if the Al-Ghandour attacks involved an air strike reported on Thursday by US Central Command, which is responsible for US forces in the Middle East.

CentCom said the coalition had conducted air strikes around the nearby town of Manbij in the past 24 hours and was looking into reports of civilian casualties.

Al-Ghandour is 28km north west of Manbij, a key hub in IS’s Syria network and a supply route to its de facto capital of Raqqa.

The bombings came a week after air strikes, also blamed by Syrian activists on US aircraft, killed at least 56 civilians in IS-held territory in northern Syria.

The Manbij area has seen extensive battles between IS extremists and US-backed Kurdish-led fighters, who have been advancing under the cover of air strikes by the coalition. The town is encircled by Kurdish forces.

The Kurdish-led forces pulled another 1,000 civilians out of Manbij on Thursday, according to Mustafa Bali, a local media activist in the town of Kobani.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy for Syria has offered a “suggestion” to Russia over its proposal to set up humanitarian corridors around the northern city of Aleppo, advising Moscow leave the job to the United Nations.

Staffan de Mistura spoke in Geneva, a day after Russia said its forces and those of the Syrian government would open humanitarian corridors outside Aleppo and offer a way out for fighters wanting to surrender.

Mr de Mistura said he is awaiting clarification from Russian authorities about that plan amid an “urgent situation” in the northern city, hit by devastating violence in recent months.

The envoy also warned that “the clock is ticking for the Aleppo population”.


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