Strikes kill 23 civilians in northeast Syria held by Islamic State

Syrian state media said on Tuesday that rebels near Homs province have agreed to give up their territory to government forces as part of a surrender deal, CNN reported.

The strikes fell south of the town of Shadadi - an area where the SDF and coalition forces are fighting ISIS.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the USA will defend its partners if they're attacked. But Nauert says the USA will "ensure that there is a strong and lasting footprint in Syria such that ISIS can not return".

Military officials made the announcement Tuesday, saying it's the last step in bringing lasting stability to both Syria and Iraq.

Israel has not confirmed or denied responsibility for the strike, but Iran and the Syrian government hold Tel Aviv responsible for Sunday's missile attack in northern Syria. Israel is believed to be behind several strikes on Iran-linked positions in Syria in the a year ago.

Hashim Muhammad, the SDF commander of the al-Jazeera Storm operation, accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of "playing a game" by trying to intentionally hamper their operation in eastern Deir el-Zour.

"We don't know for the moment if the US-led global coalition or Iraqi forces carried out the strike", the UK-based rights watch group said.

The claims followed a BBC investigation broadcast on Wednesday morning, in which a coalition source stated that two innocent people had "almost certainly" been killed by RAF airstrikes in Iraq back in January 2017.

Yesterday, the State Department announced that U.S. backed forces had relaunched their offensive to seize the last territory controlled by Daesh near the Iraqi border.

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In February, US-led coalition air raids killed 25 civilians - including seven children - in the village of Shaafah, in Deir Ezzor province, and surrounding areas, according to the Observatory.

Abdullah said IS attacks have increased in recent weeks in parts of eastern Syria near the border with Iraq as the extremist group seeks to regroup.

Turkey's offensive to expel the People's Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin - where the United States has no presence - led to a pause in the campaign against ISIS, the Pentagon has said. "Our heroic forces will liberate these areas and secure the border".

Turkish forces captured Afrin in March.

The Syrian government now controls the province's capital, which goes by the same name, and the entire western side, while the US -backed forces hold the east.

The 42 people freed on Tuesday are the first batch of more than 80 to be released.

It is the latest in a series of evacuation deals for areas around the capital that have been besieged for years and subjected to heavy bombardment by government forces.

USA officials have repeatedly said their battle against IS in eastern Syria's Deir el-Zour has been complicated by the close proximity of the Syrian regime, backed by Russian Federation and Iranian-linked Shiite militias.


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