The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 19 children and 12 women were among 42 killed in raids on Monday. Their deaths raised to more than 170 the number of civilians killed in air strikes on the Daesh-held Syrian city in just over a week.

Smoke rises after an air strike during fighting between members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Daesh militants in Raqqa, Syria, August 20, 2017.
Smoke rises after an air strike during fighting between members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Daesh militants in Raqqa, Syria, August 20, 2017. (Reuters)

At least 42 civilians were killed Monday in a barrage of US-led air strikes on Daesh territory in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Nineteen children and 12 women were among those killed in the raids, which hit several neighbourhoods in the northern city, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

The toll marked the second consecutive day of ferocious bombardment on Raqqa, more than half of which has been captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battling Daesh.

The latest figures for Monday's raids take to more than 170 the number of civilians killed in coalition strikes since August 14, after the Observatory said at least 27 were killed on Sunday.

"The tolls are high because the air strikes are hitting neighbourhoods in the city centre that are densely packed with civilians," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

"There are buildings full of civilians that are trying to get away from the front lines.

"Coalition air strikes are targeting any building where any kind of Daesh movements are being detected," he said.

An activist-run group "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently" said it had documented at least 946 civilian deaths since the Raqqa offensive began in June.

The United Nations says at least 200,000 people have fled Raqqa in recent months and that up to 20,000 civilians remain trapped inside.

The plight of civilians left in the city has worsened, with water cut off for over two months and shortages of food, leaving many of those remaining living on canned foods.

The UN's humanitarian pointman for Syria, Jan Egeland, has said Daesh-held territory in Raqqa city is now "the worst place" in the war-torn country.

Source: AFP