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Daesh says US-led strikes kill 40 in militant pocket in Syria

A US F18 Hornet aircraft is launched off the deck of US aircraft carrier USS George Washington during its mission in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on February 21, 2017 [Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency]
A US F18 Hornet aircraft is launched off the deck of US aircraft carrier USS George Washington during its mission in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on February 21, 2017 [Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency]

At least forty people, mostly women and children were killed on Saturday in the latest wave of US-led coalition airstrikes against the last remaining Daesh-held pocket in Syria near the border with Iraq, the militants and some local residents said according a report by Reuters.

Asked about reports of air strikes in the Buqan area near Hajin on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River on Saturday, the coalition’s spokesman confirmed that there were strikes but denied there were civilian casualties.

Colonel Sean Ryan, the coalition spokesman, said “the coalition takes great measures to identify and strike appropriate Daesh targets in order to avoid non-combatant casualties.”

Daesh’s Amaq news agency quoted a medical source as saying 40 people had been killed, a claim which was also made by Syrian state media.

Relatives of families from the area and Syrian state media said dozens of people have been killed in the last two weeks from US coalition airstrikes in Hajin and areas around it.

The Syrian government protested just over a week ago to the United Nations about an air strike by the US-led coalition against Daesh which it said killed 26 civilians in Hajin.

The fighting is the latest phase of efforts by the US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to clear Daesh from its last foothold east of the Euphrates River following last year’s defeat of the group in Raqqa, its Syrian headquarters.

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