For the second consecutive day, Syria appears to have faced horrific attacks from U.S.-backed militia while battling Islamic State terrorists. According to local officials and videos posted by activists, dozens of civilians, including children, have been killed as a result of the airstrikes.
Damascus-based officials, however, have been in denial. Speaking on state TV, SANA and other outlets, the head of the Central Military Media Office, Riad Haddad, denounced the reported deaths as lies and claimed that all of those killed were ISIS fighters.
“Dozens of terrorists were killed in the strike, including children. The media center of the terrorist takfiri organization known as ISIS witnessed the fall of many heads in the attack and reports claim that all the reports on its website are false,” Haddad said. “We are always combating the nature of the information on its website, because it includes incorrect information and actual lies.”
Haddad’s claims contradicted one of the most shocking video clips posted by a U.S.-supported opposition group, which showed an airstrike in the outskirts of Raqqa that killed 17 people. Local fighters had previously targeted the hotel where Daesh terrorists are believed to have been holding over 1,000 hostages, including at least 18 women and children. The video of the airstrike was initially intended to be screened during a press conference, and displayed gruesome footage of multiple bodies, which one journalist later revealed to be several of the hostages.
As well as the reported deaths in recent days, as many as 20 civilians were killed during a strike in October in Deir Ezzor, just north of Raqqa. Elsewhere, IS has also reportedly killed dozens of civilians over the past few months in the area. A state-run Iranian newspaper, for example, reported last month that three civilians were killed in strikes on a village in the city of Deir Ezzor.