Sun Apr 30, 2017 01:54PM
An F/A-18E Super Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, on October 23, 2016, in the Persian Gulf. (Photo by AFP)
An F/A-18E Super Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, on October 23, 2016, in the Persian Gulf. (Photo by AFP)

At least 14 people have been killed when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria conducted a number of airstrikes on the northern cities of Raqqah and Tabqa.

The air raids were carried out on the neighborhoods of Mansurah and Wahab in Tabqa and Yamama district in the western countryside of Raqqah overnight on Sunday, Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network reported.

Meanwhile, some Syrian news outlets said only one airstrike in Wahab claimed the lives of five members of a family.

Raqqah, the capital of a province with the same name, has been the de facto capital of Daesh in Syria since 2014. The city, a flash point located on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River, has since been repeatedly hit by warplanes of the so-called US-led coalition with an alleged aim of curbing the terror group.

Tabqa is located on a strategic supply route some 55 kilometers west of Raqqah and serves as an important command base of Daesh. The town also lies near Tabqa Dam, commonly known as Euphrates dam that is also held by Daesh. Tabqa is also bombarded every so often by the coalition's warplanes.

US-backed forces, known as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), surrounded Tabqa in early April, entering the town on Monday as part of an offensive to capture Raqqah. The operation, dubbed Wrath of the Euphrates, was launched last November. However, there have been numerous reports of US-led airstrikes targeting Syrian civilians, military and infrastructure.

On April 7, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the US-led airstrikes had killed 204 civilians, including 32 children, in Raqqah since March 1.

Displaced Syrian children, who fled the countryside surrounding the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group's stronghold of Raqqah, arrive at a temporary camp in the village of Ain Issa, April 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

In March, the US military said the airstrikes carried out by the so-called coalition had killed 220 civilians in Syria and Iraq between November and January. The figure, however, was dwarfed by tallies released by monitoring group Airwars, which said at least 2,463 civilians had been killed in the air raids in Iraq and Syria since the start of the operations in 2014.

Enlisting the help of dozens of allies, the United States started pounding Iraq and Syria in a purported effort to root out the Takfiri terror group. Those operations have widely been criticized by both countries for falling short of their announced objectives.

At intervals, US troops have airdropped weapons among the territory held by Daesh terrorists in the face of advances by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, triggering suspicions of deliberate American aid to the Takfiri extremists.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Last year, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated that over 400,000 people had been killed in the conflict.