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Pentagon: US airstrikes kill 100 Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria

A US airstrike on Thursday targeting an alleged Al-Qaeda training camp in Syria's Idlib province killed more than 100 militants, the Pentagon said in a statement yesterday.

The strike took place just a day before the end of Barack Obama's presidency and the beginning of Donald Trump's, and a day after more than 80 Daesh militants were killed in other US airstrikes in Libya.

"The removal of this training camp disrupts training operations and discourages hardline Islamist and Syrian opposition groups from joining or cooperating with Al-Qaeda on the battlefield," Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in the statement.

The United States has never bombed Iranian proxies, such as Shia jihadists from the Lebanese Hezbollah or units from the Iraqi Hezbollah, despite both being listed as terrorist organisations by Washington.

Davis said the Shaykh Sulayman training camp had been operational since 2013, adding that since the start of this year more than 150 Al-Qaeda militants have been killed in US airstrikes.

An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the airstrike was carried out by a B-52 bomber and unmanned aircraft and dropped 14 munitions. The official added that there was a high level of confidence that there were no civilian casualties.

The United States has been responsible for air raids that have killed scores of civilians in Syria.

A US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes and supporting local forces in Syria to oust Daesh militants. However, there is concern that the defeat of Daesh could open the door for Al-Qaeda to take territory in ungoverned parts of the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor that has recently stirred controversy for its reporting, said on Friday that an airstrike killed more than 40 members of the rebel group Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, in northwestern Syria.

It was not immediately clear if this strike was the same one the Pentagon was referring to.

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