Number of Sousa Massacre Victims Rises
The US-led coalition said on Sunday it had killed militants in eastern Syria by striking a mosque that ISIS used as a base, after reports of dozens of civilian deaths.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll in the air strikes in al-Sousa village and its environs on Thursday and Friday, rose to 63.
It had earlier said that 41 people, including 10 children, were killed in the raids. Many were Iraqi relatives of ISIS militants, according to the UK-based monitor said.
The coalition raids, which hit a mosque and houses, also killed 22 militants around the Euphrates River near the Iraqi border, one of the last ISIS enclaves in Syria.
Syria’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that coalition warplanes had “committed a crime”, killing at least 62 civilians in al-Sousa and a nearby village in Deir Ezzor province.
Damascus, which deems the US and international forces in Syria occupiers, accused them of relentless bombing and called on the United Nations to “punish the aggressors”.
Reuters quoted the US-led coalition as saying that it destroyed a mosque which ISIS extremists had turned into a headquarters in al-Sousa to defend their last territory.
The strike on Thursday killed 12 militants, disabling a command center they had used to attack coalition forces and their allies, it said.
“Such ISIS “misuse of the mosque is another example of their violation of the law of war and made the mosque a valid military target,” spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said.
The coalition monitored the facility to know when only fighters were present, and it investigates “all credible allegations of civilian casualties”, he said in an emailed statement in response to questions from Reuters.