Dozens killed in air strike in ISIL-held town: Observatory
BEIRUT – ReutersThe Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on June 27 that dozens of people were killed in an air strike believed to have been carried out by the U.S.-led coalition on an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) prison in the eastern Syrian town of al-Mayadeen.
The coalition said it had carried out strikes on known ISIL targets in the town on June 25 and 26 - the day the Observatory said the prison was hit, killing 57 people.
The coalition said the mission had been “meticulously planned” to reduce the risk of possible harm to non-combatants. It added it would assess the Observatory’s allegation.
ISIL is believed to have moved most of its leadership to al-Mayadeen in Syria’s Euphrates Valley, southeast of the group’s besieged capital Raqqa, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
Among operations moved to al-Mayadeen, about 80 kilometers west of the Iraqi border, are its online propaganda operation and its limited command and control of attacks in Europe and elsewhere, they say.
The Observatory said the air strike took place on Monday at dawn, hitting a building in the town of al-Mayadeen that was being used as a prison.
Separately, Syrian state-run TV station al-Ikhbariya cited its Deir al-Zor correspondent as saying coalition warplanes had destroyed a building in al-Mayadeen used as a prison by Islamic State to hold a “large number of civilians.”
The U.S.-led coalition is supporting an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters in their assault on Islamic State in its de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.
“The Coalition conducted strikes on known ISIS command and control facilities and other ISIS infrastructure in (Mayadeen), Syria, June 25 and 26,” Colonel Joe Scrocca, coalition director of public affairs, said in an email to Reuters, using another acronym for ISIL.
“The removal of these facilities disrupts ISIS’s ability to facilitate and provoke terrorist attacks against the coalition, our partner forces and in our homelands. This mission was meticulously planned and executed to reduce the risk of collateral damage and potential harm to non-combat