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Crisis in Syria

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria is killing an alarming number of civilians

Update 12:55 p.m.: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights now reports that over 100 civilians were killed Thursday in a pair of airstrikes in eastern Syria, up from earlier reports of 35 dead in a single airstrike. "There were two rounds of strikes: one Thursday night and the second after midnight, targeting buildings housing families of [Islamic State] fighters," said the Syrian Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman. Our original post appears below.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East killed at least 35 civilians in airstrikes in eastern Syria on Thursday, the same day the U.S. Central Command admitted to accidentally killing at least 105 Iraqi civilians in Mosul in a March targeting of two snipers.

The eastern Syrian town targeted Thursday is held by ISIS. "Among the dead are at least 26 relatives of [ISIS] fighters, many of them women and children, including Syrians and Moroccans," the head of the Syrian Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told France 24. "The other nine are Syrian civilians and include five children."

Monitors aren't sure how many civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition, but Airwars, a London-based group of researchers and journalists, puts the number at 366 in Iraq and Syria in April alone. The group "said it had seen civilian fatalities surge since U.S. President Donald Trump came to power and gave greater leeway to battlefield commanders," France 24 writes.

The Syrian Observatory, also based in Britain, estimates 225 civilians were killed in coalition strikes between April 23 and May 23. Before the Thursday report, the United States military had claimed 352 civilians had been "unintentionally" killed since 2014.

"Our condolences go out to all those that were affected," Major General Joe Martin said in a statement following Thursday's report on the Mosul bombing. "The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm."