Syria: US-backed SDF missile strike targets IS territory near Iraqi border | News | DW | 26.01.2019
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Syria: US-backed SDF missile strike targets IS territory near Iraqi border

Six Iraqi noncombatants were among those killed in the strike. US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are fighting to retake the last pockets of "Islamic State" territory in eastern Syria.

This picture shows US Army vehicles supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Hajin, in the Deir Ezzor province, eastern Syria, on December 15, 2018 (Getty Images/AFP/D. Souleiman)

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been fighting to retake all territory in Deir Ezzor since September

At least 29 "Islamic State" (IS) militants and 13 civilians were killed in a missile strike in Syria by US-led coalition forces, a war monitor said on Saturday.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several short-range missiles struck homes on IS-controlled farmland near the border with Iraq late on Friday.

The civilians included seven Syrians linked to IS and six Iraqi noncombatants. Three children from the same family were among the dead.

The observatory warned that the death toll could increase because some of the wounded had critical injuries.

Read more: Syria conflict: What do the US, Russia, Turkey and Iran want?

Last gasps of IS

The area is one of the last stretches of IS-controlled territory in Syria. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been fighting since September to eliminate the remaining IS fighters in the eastern state of Deir Ezzor, where the farmland is located.

The SDF has made headway in recent weeks, retaking several villages near the Euphrates River. Several thousand civilians have fled the remaining pockets of IS territory to SDF-controlled areas.

IS has conducted counterattacks to retake lost territory. One counterattack on the recaptured village of Baghouz on Thursday left a total of 50 SDF and IS fighters dead.

IS, one of the main factions fighting in Syria's civil war, has lost the vast majority of the territory it captured in Syria and Iraq in 2014.

More than 360,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Syria since the civil war began in 2011.

Read more: The rise of the 'Islamic State'

amp/jm (dpa, AFP)

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