US Coalition Fires White Phosphorus Shells Into ISIS Village in Eastern Syria

Syrian state media reports women and children killed in attacks

US-led coalition forces have fired white phosphorus shells into the farmland surrounding the ISIS-held village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria. Reports suggest the shelling began overnight.

Syrian state media agency SANA confirmed the attack, saying the US strikes and ensuing fires in the farmland had killed a number of women and children who were trying to flee Baghouz.

The US has yet to comment on the matter. The use of white phosphorus is legally problematic under international law. It is technically allowed for illumination purposes, but are prohibited for use near civilians, or for attacks on forces co-located with civilians, which the village of Baghouz certainly is.

The timing is likely to fuel some questions as well, as the use of the WP comes amid claims by President Trump that ISIS has already been 100% defeated. This makes the point of further attacks around Baghouz unclear.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of