Between 56 and 160 civilians, including at least 11 children, were killed in an airstrike in Syria yesterday, July 19, reports Reuters and several human rights organizations, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and Amnesty International. SOHR has said that US-led coalition planes likely mistook the civilians for members of terror group ISIL, although that has not been confirmed.
The airstrike occurred in a-Tokhar, on the outskirts of the ISIL-controlled town of Manbij, in the Aleppo governate. The strike reportedly hit a school that was sheltering internally displaced people. Early reports cited 56 casualties, though local sources told independent journalist organization Syria:direct that at least 124 had already been counted dead from the attacks. Other accounts from activists in the area put the toll at 160, the Washington Post reports.
Coalition planes made three strikes near Manbij on Tuesday, according to US Central Command (CENTCOMM). In a statement, the military body tells Quartz it is aware of reported civilian deaths, but has not yet confirmed responsibility:
We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties near Manbij, Syria, recently. As with any allegation we receive, we will review any information we have about the incident, including information provided by third parties, such as the proximity of the location to CJTF airstrikes, and any other relevant information presented. If the information supporting the allegation is determined to be credible, we will then determine the next appropriate step. We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict.
According to SOHR, including this latest incident, at least 167 civilians would have been killed so far in Manbij since May, when the US-led coalition started their campaign in the area.