Suspected coalition raids kill 23 civilians in Syria

Beirut: The civilian death toll in air strikes thought to have been conducted by a US-led coalition on a extremist-held Syrian village on Thursday has risen to 23, a monitor said.
The IS group is facing simultaneous offensives in northern Syria by government forces, Turkish-backed rebels, and a US-supported alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
They are also being pummelled by Iraqi forces over the border in their most populous bastion Mosul.
“The raids hit the village of Al Matab after midnight and were likely carried out by the coalition,” said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Observatory earlier reported 14 people killed.
At least eight children and six women were among the dead in Al Matab, which is held by the IS group.
The village lies near a key road linking IS’s de facto Syria capital Raqa with the partly-IS held city of Deir Ezzor further down the Euphrates Valley.
On Monday, fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces cut off the road in a bid to encircle the IS in Raqa.
The US-led coalition has been backing the SDF’s drive on the IS stronghold with air power and hundreds of military advisers.
Abdel Rahman said SDF fighters were advancing on Al Matab, which lies about 55 kilometres southeast of Raqa.
The SDF launched its drive on the city in early November and has since seized swathes of territory. — AFP