Dozens killed in US-led air strikes in northern Syria

Air raids targeting ISIL positions kill at least 52 civilians in Aleppo province, UK-based monitoring groups says.

A man carries a boy over debris at a site damaged by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria''s president Bashar Al-Assad in Aleppo''s al-Saliheen district
Aleppo has been badly damaged with thousands of homes completely destroyed due to the war in Syria [Reuters]

At least 52 civilians have been killed in US-led air strikes targeting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions in a village in northern Syria, a monitoring group has said.

“Air strikes by the coalition early on Friday on the village of Birmahle in Aleppo province killed 52 civilians,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

“Seven children were killed, and 13 people are still trapped in the rubble.” he said on Saturday.

The Observatory documented a total of 66 civilians, including 10 children, who have been killed in the US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria since September last year.

In another attack, at least five civilians were killed, including three children, after Syrian government forces dropped barrel bombs in south of Aleppo, the observatory said.

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) released a report stating that coalition forces conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria, targeting ISIL positions al-Hasakah, Der Ezzor and near Kobane.

In a statement released on Friday, the CENTCOM said that it had conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq.

ISIL vs opposition fighters

Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency that Kurdish fighters joined by Syrian rebels have clashed with ISIL in a town roughly 2km away from Birmahle.

“But Birmahle is only civilians, with no ISIL positions and no clashes,” he said.

Rahman said “not a single ISIL fighter” was killed in the strikes on the village, but that raids on a nearby town had killed at least seven fighters.

Air strikes by the US-led coalition have supported Kurdish forces battling ISIL fighters in Aleppo province, most notably in the flashpoint border town of Kobane, which is near Birmahle.

Backed by the strikes, Kurdish fighters drove ISIL out of Kobane in January. A statement released on Friday by the joint task force for the anti-ISIL coalition said it had conducted six air strikes near Kobane on ISIL tactical units.

According to the Observatory, the air campaign has killed more than 2,000 people in total, including at least 1,922 ISIL fighters.

Government offensive

The Syrian army has launched an offensive against opposition fighters in the northwest province of Latakia.

Activists in the city’s suburbs said that opposition fighters have managed to repel the government offensive in the northern countryside without any advance from either side.

Opposition fighters claim to have shot down reconnaissance drone, and sporadic clashes are ongoing in those areas.

Latakia is Syria’s main port and one of the most important government-held areas.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies