Many Civilians among 54 Dead in Anti-IS Strike in Syria

Syria airstrike reportedly kills dozens of civilians in Deir Ezzor near Iraq border

Airstrike kills 54 in Syria, US-led coalition hints at responsibility

Syrian state media and a war monitor say an airstrike in an area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in eastern Syria has killed dozens of civilians.

Colonel Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said that it or "partner forces may have conducted strikes in the vicinity". The monitor said the casualties "included 28 civilians, majority Iraqi nationals" who had fled to Syria earlier on during the war against the jihadis that took over half of both countries in 2014.

State news agency SANA reported the strike late Thursday, saying more than 30 civilians were killed and accusing the US-led coalition of carrying it out.

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It was not immediately clear if the strike was carried out by an Iraqi plane or by one of the US-led coalition fighting IS, the monitor said.

The report of civilian casualties was being forwarded to the "Civilian Casualty Cell for further assessment", he said.

The Iraqi government coordinated closely with the USA -led coalition in the battle to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Baghdad has sought to extend this fight into Syria to protect the massive border shared by the two countries.

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The US-led coalition was initially blamed for the attack but US officials later said it had been carried out by Israel, which has carried out several raids on Iran-linked targets in Syria.

The U.S. military did not respond to calls by The Associated Press for comments on the report. In March, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights assigned blame to the coalition for 2,967 civilian deaths. The Syrian state media reported that the USA was behind the strike.

They have since lost most of that territory to various offensives, but still retain pockets of land in Syria including in the country's vast Badiya desert and in Deir Ezzor.

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