US-led coalition strikes kill 20 civilians in Syria, says monitor

This image made from militant video posted online on Tuesday by the Aamaq News Agency, a media arm of the Islamic State group, purports to shows destroyed houses following a U.S.-led coalition strike in the eastern Syrian town of Boukamal, on the Iraqi border. (AP)
Updated 19 April 2017
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US-led coalition strikes kill 20 civilians in Syria, says monitor

BEIRUT: Airstrikes by the US-led coalition fighting Daesh killed 20 civilians in Syria’s eastern Deir Ez Zor province, a monitor said on Tuesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths came in two separate incidents on Monday.
It also reported 10 civilians, among them nine children, were killed in a suspected Russian airstrike on Tuesday on a town in the opposition-controlled province of Idlib.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.
The Britain-based monitor said a US strike on Monday night on the Deir Ez Zor town of Albu Kamal had killed 13 civilians, among them five children.
The strike also killed three members of Daesh, which controls the town by the Syria-Iraq border, the monitor said.
Earlier Monday, a US-led coalition strike killed seven civilians, including a child, in the village of Husseinyeh, the monitor said.
The US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since 2014 and is providing air support for a Kurdish-Arab alliance advancing on the terrorist bastion of Raqqa.
Last month, the coalition said its campaign against Daesh in Syria and Iraq had unintentionally killed at least 220 civilians, but monitors say the real number is far higher.
Most of the oil-rich province of Deir Ez Zor, in Syria’s east, is held by Daesh, including parts of the provincial capital, Deir Ez Zor city.
The terrorists have besieged the remaining regime-held parts of Deir Ez Zor city, trapping civilians inside with limited access to supplies.
More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-regime protests in March 2011.


In Iraq, Angelina Jolie calls for focus on conflict prevention

Updated 3 min 48 sec ago
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In Iraq, Angelina Jolie calls for focus on conflict prevention

  • “I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together," she said
  • This was Jolie’s third visit to the camp as UNHCR special envoy

IRBIL: Hollywood star Angelina Jolie called Sunday for a larger focus on conflict prevention rather than responding to its repercussions, during a visit to Iraq with the UN refugee agency.
“I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together: so that we move into a new era of preventing conflict and reducing instability, rather than simply struggling to deal with its consequences,” Jolie told a news conference at the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.
It was Jolie’s third visit to the camp as UNHCR special envoy, after previous visits in 2012 and 2016.
The Domiz camp opened in 2011 and is home to 40,000 Syrian refugees who fled the seven-year civil war across the border.
“When UNHCR’s Syria response was only 50 percent funded last year, and this year it is only 17 percent funded, there are terrible human consequences,” Jolie said.
“We should be under no illusion about this,” she added.
Late last month, the UN made an “urgent and critical” appeal for donations to its main budget for Syrian refugees after contributions pledged in April failed to trickle in.
“When there is not even the bare minimum of aid, refugee families cannot receive adequate medical treatment, women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity of being able to invest in refugees so that they can acquire new skills and support their families,” she said.
Her visit coincided with the third day of Eid Al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
On Saturday, Jolie visited western Mosul, held by Daesh terrorists for nearly three years until they were pushed out by Iraqi forces last summer.
During her visit, she walked through Mosul’s destroyed Old City, met with displaced families and spoke about reconstruction.
“This is the worst devastation I have seen in all my years with UNHCR,” Jolie said.
“It is deeply upsetting that people who have endured unparallelled brutality have so little as they try, somehow, to rebuild the lives they once had.”
The visit marked Jolie’s 61st mission — and fifth to Iraq — with the UN refugee agency since 2001.