The United States-led coalition killed 40 civilians in the al-Buqa’an village in Syria on Saturday. According to local reports, the victims of the airstrikes were mostly women and children.
The village is near Hajin town, about 110 kilometers southeast of the city of Deir Ezzor, in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported U.S.-led forces conducted heavy shelling in the village destroying dozens of houses. Sources on the ground told SANA that the "death toll is likely to rise due to the difficulty of evacuating civilians trapped under the rubble of houses destroyed by the airstrikes."
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 17 children were among the family members killed.
The coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment but earlier this week coalition spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP: "the avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions."
Last week, a series of strikes in the city of Hajin claimed the lives of 100 civilians. According to SANA, last weeks attacks used internationally-banned white phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory said "on Tuesday, 22 bodies of civilians were retrieved including nine children, as well as the remains of six other people not yet identified."
The Observatory has recorded at least 191 civilians killed since Sept. 10, including 65 children and 45 women. They are mostly Iraqis and believed to include family members of IS militants, the Observatory added.
The Syrian government has repeatedly demanded the United Nations Secretary-General and the president of the U.N. Security Council to begin immediate action to stop such attacks and massacres. It has also requested the establishment of an independent international mechanism to investigate these crimes and punish the perpetrators.
The coalition was initially formed to combat ISIS/Daesh, the terrorist organization it the U.S. helped create with its 2003 invasion of Iraq, which overran large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in the lands it controlled.
Syria's Foreign Affairs Ministry stressed that U.S.-led coalition strikes were prolonging the ongoing Syrian conflict, destroying the country’s infrastructure and undermining its sovereignty and territorial integrity in flagrant violation of all U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.