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18 May, 2017

US airstrike kills at least 30 Syrian civilians near Iraq border

Adding to the growing civilian death toll caused by US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the US overnight attacked the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, along the key Iraqi border crossing, killing at least 30 civilians in the process.

The US carried out the strikes at 3:00 am, targeting a series of apartment buildings in the town’s residential area. Unsurprisingly, the apartments were full of sleeping civilians, and also unsurprisingly, blowing up the apartments killed a lot of them.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS is believed to have been using some of the apartments in the targeted area. There is, however, no sign that the apartments the US bombed contained any of the ISIS fighters in question.

This is the latest in a growing number of US strikes around Syria which have killed civilians, with reports of at least 87 civilians killed in the last five days from US and coalition strikes.

Abu Kamal is a hugely important strategic holding of ISIS, though its value has dropped somewhat since they lost most of their territory in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Still, it is along the main highway connecting Syria’s Deir Ezzor and Iraq, and has been contested by US-backed rebels intermittently, albeit unsuccessfully.

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