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42 civilians dead in US-led strikes on Raqqa, Syria

23 Août 2017

Anti-IS group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said 32 were killed in one district alone.

"The tolls are high because the air strikes are hitting neighbourhoods in the city centre that are densely packed with civilians", SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency.

The US-led coalition says it is careful to avoid civilian casualties in its bombing runs against IS in both Syria and Iraq, and investigates any allegations.

In May, Syria wrote to the United Nations, harshly condemning the US-led coalition's fatal strikes against civilians as illegal and a breach of its sovereignty.

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The Britain-based Observatory said that was the single largest daily death toll since the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces, a group of Kurdish and Arab militias, began their assault on Raqqa last June after a long campaign to isolate IS inside the city. However, human rights groups believe the true figure is far higher.

"In Raqqa city, if you don't die from air strikes, you die by mortar fire; if not by mortars then by sniper shots; if not by snipers, then by an explosive device", MSF said, quoting a 41-year-old who fled Raqqa after losing seven family members in the fighting. In recent months, regular airstrikes and shelling in the city have reportedly resulted in scores of civilian casualties, including women and children.

"The UN stresses again that all parties to the fighting are obligated to protect civilians under worldwide humanitarian law, as well as the need for sustained and unhindered access to those who need help", Mr Dujarric added.

42 civilians dead in US-led strikes on Raqqa, Syria