Manbij: Civilians killed again by US coalition airstrikes

Manbij: Civilians killed again by US coalition airstrikes
120 civilians were killed last week by US-led airstrikes

At least 28 civilians have reportedly been killed and several wounded in US-led air strikes on the suburbs of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, according to a monitoring group.

The reports on Friday come a day after the US-led coalition announced it had enough evidence of civilian casualties from its attacks on the same area last week to launch a formal investigation.

Thursday night’s air strikes targeted the town of al-Ghandour, controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) group according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which documents daily human rights abuses in Syria.

The SOHR said the civilian death toll included seven children. Thirteen more people died in the same attack, but their identity remained unclear, the group added.

Al-Ghandour lies 23km northwest of Manbij in the Aleppo governorate, a strategic waypoint between Turkey and the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital for ISIS.

US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, said late on Thursday it had “initiated an assessment following internal operational reporting that a strike today near Manbij, Syria may have resulted in civilian casualties,” confirming that there had been coalition air strikes there in the past 24 hours.

Last week, a separate coalition attack targeting the Tokhar area of Manbij killed at least 120 Syrian civilians, according to SOHR and local activists, in one of the highest death tolls from coalition air strikes yet.

After examining “internal and external information” following the strikes, the coalition determined that there was sufficient credible evidence of civilian deaths to open a formal inquiry, spokesman Colonel Chris Garver said on Wednesday.

“The US coalition knows that it is very important for it to be seen as trying to respond to these allegations,” Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said.

“This is the third such investigation in the past 11 days.”