A group monitoring airstrikes in Iraq and Syria said the situation in Raqqa was as bad as it had been in last year’s siege of Aleppo: “It’s certainly fair to say that we are seeing numbers of civilians reported killed and numbers of incidents comparable to the worst periods of the Aleppo siege last year when east Aleppo was under bombardment by both Russian and Syrian forces“, said Chris Woods, the director of London-based NGO Airwars, a journalist-led transparency project aimed at tracking and archiving the global air war against IS.
Tuesday the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a coalition airstrike on an IS prison in the nearby town of al-Mayadeen killed 57 people.
The UK-based monitoring group said the fatalities included 82 children in addition to 70 women.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 42 people were killed, identifying them as prisoners of Islamic State.
Deirezzor24, which is run by an activist collective, reported that the facility was located near the village of Tayibiya wa al-Maaharufa, and that it had once been the home of a commander of al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-linked group now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
The US-led coalition said last week that it had killed Daesh’s top cleric Turki Binali in a May 31 strike on Al Mayadin.
The coalition has been accused repeatedly this year of causing civilian casualties as it targets IS’s rapidly shrinking territory in both Syria and Iraq, but U.S. military officials say higher civilian casualties were always expected as the IS militants are increasingly squeezed into shrinking territory.
It said the Mayadeen mission was “meticulously planned and executed to reduce the risk.to non-combatants”.
Doblan is just southeast of the city of Mayadin, which was just attacked yesterday by USA forces, killing a large number of civilians destroying an ISIS-held prison.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish, Arab and other forces, have encircled the de-facto capital of Raqqa with Mosul, around 200km north-east, in Iraq, also set to fall imminently.
Col. Ryan Dillon, a United States military spokesman in Baghdad, said the coalition had struck command-and-control facilities and other infrastructure belonging to the Islamic State near Mayadeen on Monday.
Islamic State is believed to have moved most of its leaders to al-Mayadeen in Syria’s Euphrates Valley, south-east of the group’s besieged capital Raqqa, two USA intelligence officials have said.
Russian Federation said earlier this month that it had killed about 180 IS jihadists, including two field commanders, in June 6 and 8 air strikes on Deir Ezzor.