While US “outrage” at civilian casualties from Syrian airstrikes is being used as a pretext for military intervention against the Syrian government, US forces continue their own airstrikes backing military operations in northeastern Syria, and are killing an increasing number of civilians in their own right.
Today, US airstrikes near Raqqa killed at least 21 people, mostly civilians, and while some of the strikes were near fighting between US-backed troops and ISIS, at least one of the strikes appears to have been a deliberate attack on a boatload of civilians attempting to cross the Euphrates River.
The boat was carrying about 40 people, and NGOs say that at least seven bodies, six of them children, have been recovered so far, with more missing. The US has dropped leaflets in the area urging civilians to flee toward the Euphrates, but apparently dropped a second leaflet warning them not to try to cross the river or they’d be attacked.
The airstrikes centered around the village of Hanida, which is along the Euphrates River west of Raqqa. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a number of additional civilians killed in US strikes on the village. That the US is attacking the village is puzzling, because ISIS is not believed to have any presence in the village itself, and it appears to be at least some distance from the fight.
The biggest target in the Hanida strikes was an Internet cafe, with the US strike destroying the site, killing 14 people within, including four children. The US is so far not offering any justification for any of the attacks in the area.