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US Reviewing Syria Airstrike; Rights Group Says Dozens Killed 


The U.S. military is reviewing an airstrike it conducted in Syria's eastern Deir el-sour province, after a human rights monitor said an airstrike there killed at least 28 civilians.

“We did conduct strikes in the area east of Deir el-Zour,” Army Maj. Josh Jaques, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told VOA on Friday.

He added that a team would review the strike, as it has done with all allegations of civilian casualties, to determine whether the accusations are credible.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an attack late Thursday hit an ice factory near the Iraq border in an area controlled by the Islamic State group.

It says the strike killed at least 54 people, including Islamic State fighters and 28 civilians. Most of the civilians were Iraqi nationals, according to the Observatory.

The rights monitor said it was not immediately clear whether planes from Iraq or the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS carried out the raid.

The Syrian government news agency SANA blamed the U.S.-led coalition for the airstrike, saying that it killed 30 people and wounded many others.

The coalition has carried out attacks against areas held by IS in Syria in the past and has been supporting Kurdish-led fighters battling the extremist group. Iraqi warplanes also have carried out strikes in eastern Syria recently.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says local Syrian partner Maghawir al-Thowra detained 11 Islamic State fighters who had entered into a 55-kilometer deconfliction zone in southern Syria.

The MaT group captured the fighters on Tuesday, just three days after the group arrested nine Islamic State fighters in the area.

“As Daesh movement from southwest Syria continues, our partners will interdict and disrupt these forces to ensure the defeat of Daesh in the region,” Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, the Commanding General of the counter-Islamic State fight in Syria and Iraq, said, using an Arabic acronym for the terror group.

Southern Syria's so-called deconfliction zone has been established for months as the area within a 55-kilometer radius of the al-Tanf garrison, where coalition forces are training counter-IS fighters.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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