Syria: At least 43 killed in air strikes on militant

Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or IS fighters

Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or IS fighters

The US-led coalition combating ISIS denied Sunday that its strikes on eastern Syria on Saturday had killed civilians.

Syrian government forces have managed to wrest control over the last holdout of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the country's south, a UK-based monitoring group says.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, it is the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket in September.

Among the dead were 36 family members of IS fighters it was claimed, but this report had been denied by the coalition who claimed its air raids in the area had not killed any non-combatants.

In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.

"We have witnessed (IS) using places of worship and hospitals as command centers against the laws of war, and innocent civilians as human shields", Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the coalition, said in an email to The Associated Press.

The Syrian government protested just over a week ago to the United Nations about an air strike by the US-led coalition against Islamic State which it said killed 26 civilians in Hajin.

The regime has been fighting the jihadists in the area since a deadly July attack on the Druze minority in Sweida province.

However, there have been many reports of civilian casualties on the ground.

South African President Ramaphosa to repay campaign donation
President Cyril Ramaphosa replying to questions orally in the National Assembly in Parliament on 6 November 2018. Just this month, he described the corruption plaguing South Africa as an "amoeba" with "tentacles all over".

He says it is not clear if the men killed in the strikes were militants.

SANA, the news agency run by the Syrian government that has aligned itself against the US coalition, reported 40 civilians, mostly women and children, died in the airstrikes and warned the death toll is likely to rise because of difficulty evacuating civilians trapped under the rubble of houses.

The SDF in September announced an assault to oust the militants from the eastern pocket, which includes the town of Hajin and the village of Al-Shaafa.

IS overran large areas of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" in territory it controlled, but has since lost most of that territory to various offensives.

The Observatory said regime forces and IS fighters exchanged fire across the river on Saturday, but pro-government shelling did not hit Abu al-Husn.

The U-S-led coalition carries out regular air raids in Syria under the pretext of targeting Daesh terrorists.

Followers of a secretive offshoot of Islam, the Druze are considered heretics by the extremists of Daesh.

Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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