Thu Mar 9, 2017 09:21AM
The photo by AFP shows smoke rising in the distance after fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fired a mortar launcher from the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Dayr al-Zawr on February 21, 2017.
The photo by AFP shows smoke rising in the distance after fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fired a mortar launcher from the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Dayr al-Zawr on February 21, 2017.

Nearly two dozen civilians, including children, have been killed in airstrikes likely carried out by the US-led coalition on a village in northern Syria, a monitoring group says.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Thursday air raids “hit the village of al-Matab after midnight and were likely carried out by the coalition,” which claims to be fighting the Daesh terror group in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

There were at least eight children and six women among those killed, according to the report. The group had initially put the death toll at 14.

The village is located near Raqqah, which serves as the main Daesh bastion in Syria. The US-led military coalition says it is working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an anti-government alliance of Arab and Kurdish forces, to try to defeat Daesh in the militant-riddled city.

However, there have been numerous reports of US-led airstrikes targeting Syrian civilians, military and infrastructure.

The development comes a day after reports said hundreds of US troops have arrived in northern Syria to provide artillery support to SDF forces. However, the Pentagon has not confirmed the deployment yet.

Meanwhile, Washington is mulling the creation of a 1,000-strong Kuwait-based military force purportedly aimed at engaging Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

Since 2014, the United States, along with a number of its allies, has been leading a so-called anti-terror campaign in Syria and neighboring Iraq. The campaign has fallen well short of eliminating the terrorists, raising questions as to the nature of the coalition’s military engagement.

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, takes position in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor on February 21 (Photo by AFP).

There are also reports that the US-led attacks have on numerous occasions hampered counterterrorism operations by Syrian armed forces.

In September, a US-led airstrike hit a military base belonging to the Syrian army, leaving over 80 army troops dead and some 100 others wounded in the eastern part of the country. The raid helped Daesh terrorists make some gains in the area at the time.

Last October, Amnesty International said the alliance’s warplanes have killed around 300 during its air raids in Syria since 2014.