US Airstrikes Kill 16 Civilians West of Raqqa

Syrian Observatory: Most of the Slain Were Refugees

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US coalition airstrikes attacked the village of al-Barouda last night, killing at least 16 civilians, including five children, and wounding a large number of others. Many of the wounded are gravely so, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Al-Barouda is 15 km west of the ISIS capital city of al-Raqqa, near the area where Kurdish YPG forces are attempting to “surround” the city. It does not, however, appear that there was any fighting around the time of the airstrikes, so it’s unclear why the village was attacked at all.

The slain were identified as mostly refugees from the Homs Province, people who had fled from the area around Sukhana, controlled by a different Islamist faction. The Pentagon has not issued a statement on the attack at all, let alone on the civilian deaths.

Nor are they likely to. The US rarely offers statements on incidents in which they kill civilians, mostly because they’ve made such an overt, concerted effort to massively underreport civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, and bringing attention to individual incidents raises unwelcome questions about why those already confirmed incidents didn’t end up in the official reports on death tolls.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of