US-led strikes kill 5 ISIS fighters for ‘facilitating attacks’ in east Syria

The US-led international coalition announced airstrikes killed a cell of five Islamic State “key” facilitators east of the Euphrates River on Monday, while media run by the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad reported civilians were killed.

“Coalition forces conducted a strike against a Daesh cell near Busayrah,” Coalition Spokesman US Army Col. James Rawlinson said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS, AFP reported on Monday.

Al-Busayrah is east of the Euphrates in eastern Deir ez-Zor governorate, approximately 100 kilometers upriver from the Iraqi border crossing at al-Qaim.

The river has served in Syria as a de facto demarcation line between the United States and Damascus which is backed by Russia and Iran.

“This operation eliminated five terrorists who played a key role in facilitating attacks across the region against security forces and innocent civilians,” Rawlinson added.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported the airstrikes killed and injured civilians including women and children, citing unnamed local sources.

The strikes also damaged houses and caused panic because of their intensity, SANA claimed. Rudaw was unable to independently verify the US or Syrian claims.

A UK-based conflict monitor opposed to the Assad regime reported that the five killed were not of Syrian nationality in the early Sunday operation. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) added that six more foreigners were targeted in the operation and killed over the past 24 hours.