In Brief

US-led airstrike in Syria kills 'dozens' of civilians

At least 33 people killed in strike on school near Islamic State-held town in Raqqa, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

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A US-led coalition air strike has reportedly killed dozens of civilians sheltering in a school near the Syrian city of Raqqa.

At least 33 people died in Wednesday's attack on the small town of Mansoura, many of whom had fled fighting in other parts of the country, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A witness told The Guardian: "Most of these people, maybe all of them, had taken shelter in this building from the fighting and the planes. They were hiding for their lives."

The Pentagon confirmed that US warplanes targeting Islamic State militants were active in the area, but said reports of civilian deaths were still under investigation.

CBS News reports that IS is known to position its fighters and supplies near to and even in the same buildings as civilians.

Yesterday's attack comes less than a week after international observers reported that a US strike on a mosque complex in the north-west of the country left at least 52 people dead, a claim disputed by the US.

"The two air strikes have raised concerns about whether the US military has become less careful, or less selective, in its targeting," writes the New York Times.

"President Donald Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that he would loosen restrictions intended to protect civilians during attacks against the Islamic State."

Raqqa is the terrorist group's last major urban stronghold in Syria and its de facto capital.

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