The U.S. has admitted it may have been responsible for an airstrike in eastern Syrian that a war monitoring group says killed 28 civilians.
The bombing took place late Thursday in the eastern province of Deir al Zour, hitting near the villages of al Soussa and al Baghouz, according to Syrian state news agency SANA and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
According to the U.K.-based Observatory, the civilians had sought shelter at an ice factory in the ISIS-held area.
SANA put the death toll at 30, adding that others were injured in the strike as well, and that the death toll could mount.
ISIS militants were also said to be among the dead, with the Observatory saying the total death toll was at least 54.
Coalition spokesman Col.Sean Ryan told Reuters, “The Coalition or our partner forces may have conducted strikes in the vicinity of al Soussa and Baghour Fukhani yesterday.” He added in his email to the news agency that the report of civilian casualties had been forwarded to the “Civilian Casualty Cell for further assessment.”
Transparency group Airwars says that “almost all coalition strikes in early 2018—and claims of civilian harm—were now focused on eastern Syria.”
The latest strikes are part of the coalition’s “Operation Roundup,” which touts its “precision coalition strike support” as it targets the extremist group on the Iraq-Syria border along the middle Euphrates River Valley.
The coalition, Airwars notes, has carried out over 15,000 airstrikes in Syria since 2014.