The US military is investigating reports that at least 73 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in air strikes early on Tuesday morning in the northern Syrian village of Tokhar, part of the city of Manbij, in the governorate of Aleppo.
Near the Turkish-Syrian border, many civilians had fled their houses to avoid the battles raging in the vicinity. They sought refuge in a clump of “clay and adobe” homes in the nearby village of Tokhar, Amnesty International said.
US-led air strikes targeted the group, taking out many of the women, children, and families who sought shelter there.
This is the largest instance of civilian casualties since the US-led coalition began its bombing campaign in Syria in 2014.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in the UK, reported that the air strikes mistakenly identified and targeted the civilians as DAESH terrorists.
The incident comes after another report of a strike killing “a woman with four of her children and an old man" in a separate part of the same city on Sunday, the Observatory said.
Recently the SDF, a US-backed group mainly consisting of YPG militants associated with the PKK terrorist organisation, concentrated their forces upon the strategically important city in an attempt to seize it from DAESH, which took Manbij in 2014.
The Syrian civil war began in mid 2011 when protests against autocrat Bashar al Assad and his regime were suppressed violently in the context of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Since then, the UN has estimated that nearly half of the country’s population has been forced to leave their homes, and the death toll may be as high as 400,000.