Beirut - At least 14 civilians were killed Saturday in US-led coalition air strikes on Daesh’s last holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said.
“Fourteen civilians, including five children under the age of 18, were killed in the coalition air raids on the villages of Hajin, Sousa and Al Shaafa” in eastern Deir Al Zor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “The death toll is likely to rise due to the number of seriously wounded,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
At least nine Daesh militants were killed in the raids, he added.
The coalition was not immediately available for comment.
Strikes on the area intensified following an attempted extremist attack on a coalition base in the nearby village of Al Bahra, the Britain-based monitor said.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in land it controlled.
But the group has since lost most of its territory to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and a pocket in Deir Al Zor that contains Hajin, Sousa and Al Shaafa.
A Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by the coalition launched an offensive in September to wrest the Deir Al Zor pocket from Daesh.
But on Wednesday the alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces, suspended its fight against Daesh after Turkish forces fired on the group’s positions.
The coalition estimates that 2,000 Daesh fighters remain in the Hajin pocket.
A total of more than 400,000 people have been killed since Syria’s war erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.