The first reported civilian casualties of the US-backed invasion of the ISIS capital of Raqqa occurred overnight in the nearby village of al-Heisha, just 40 km north of the city, where a US airstrike hit a large number of civilians.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 20 civilians killed in the attack and 32 others wounded, again all civilians. The Pentagon has confirmed that it conducted the strikes that were reported in the area to have caused the casualties.
The Kurdish YPG and its affiliate force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however, insisted the Syrian Observatory’s report was made up by ISIS, and that there were only ISIS fighters in the village. They also claimed that any civilians killed were “human shields,” even though they’d already denied any of them were present in the first place.
Locals from within the village say that those who were able fled, but many were forced to remain when ISIS fighters arrived and wouldn’t let anyone else go. ISIS had brought heavy weapons into the village, which apparently precipitated the strikes.
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