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Coalition strikes kill 16 civilians in eastern Syria, monitor says

By DPA Published: February 11, 2019

AMMAN, Jordan (Tribune News Service) — U.S.-led coalition strikes have killed at least 16 civilians in eastern Syria, in the last area controlled by the Islamic State extremist group, a monitoring group said on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the deaths included seven children, due to the “intensive strikes” by the U.S.-led coalition on the area, where Syrian fighters have been pushing against ISIS fighters in recent days.

According to the state-run SANA news agency, the strikes hit houses on the outskirts of Baghuz village, killing four civilians.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-allied Kurdish-led rebel group, have been recently pushing to expel Islamic State from the village of Baghuz, the last sliver of territory still under its control in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour near the border with Iraq.

On Sunday, the Observatory said ISIS militants are using civilians in the area as human shields.

ISIS, which has suffered military setbacks in Syria and Iraq, is believed to have planted mines in its last bastion in Deir al-Zour to hamper military action against its fighters there.

The SDF has played a major role in fighting Islamic State in war-torn Syria, gaining much of the territory once held by the radical group in energy-rich eastern Syria.

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