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Seven children among 16 killed after US-led coalition strikes in Syria: monitor

The US-backed SDF pushed their way into the Syrian desert hamlet of Baghouz along the Iraqi border two weeks ago
DELIL SOULEIMAN (AFP)

Seven children were among 16 killed as a result of US-led coalition strikes on the last remaining Islamic State bastion in Syria, a war monitor said Monday.

Eight women and one elderly man were also among the civilians killed while trying to flee towards the Iraqi border, said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The coalition was not immediately available for comment, but has repeatedly said it does its utmost to avoid targeting civilians.

On Saturday, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-Arab alliance supported by the US, announced it had begun the "final battle" to oust IS from its last remaining scrap of territory in eastern Syria.

Backed by air strikes by the US-led coalition against IS, the Kurdish-Arab alliance has in recent months cornered the jihadists in a final patch of territory in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

The SDF estimates that up to 600 IS fighters could still remain inside, most of them foreigners.

Nineteen IS fighters were killed in clashes with the SDF on Monday, the monitor said.

The Kurdish-led force lost nine fighters during battles with jihadists, the Observatory said.

The SDF does not usually divulge casualty figures until weeks or months later.

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