Aljazeera –September 29, 2014 8:00AM ET
Latest air raid on ISIL targets hits grain silos, killing workers and destroying country’s largest gas plant.
U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians and wounding insurgents, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.
The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an ISIL base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.
The United States has targeted ISIL and other fighters in Syria since last week with the help of Arab allies, and has targeted ISIL in Iraq since last month. Washington says it aims to damage and destroy the bases, forces and supply lines of the Al-Qaeda offshoot that has captured large areas of both countries.
The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, which gathers information from sources in Syria.
“These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people,” he said. He could not give a number of casualties and it was not immediately possible to verify the information.
Manbij sits between the western city of Aleppo and the northern town of Kobani, which ISIL has been trying to capture from Kurdish forces, forcing tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee over the border to Turkey.
Syria’s army also carried out air raids in Aleppo province overnight, targeting anti-government rebels, though not specifically ISIL, in areas east of Aleppo city with barrel bombs and other projectiles, the Observatory said. The army also carried out air strikes in Hama in western Syria.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been battling rebel fighters around Aleppo, which is held by a number of factions.
In eastern Syria, U.S.-led forces bombed a gas plant controlled by ISIL outside Deir al-Zour city, wounding several of the militant group’s fighters, the Observatory said.
The U.S. has said it wants strikes to target oil facilities held by ISIL to try to stem a major source of revenues for the group.
The raid hit Kuniko gas plant, which feeds a power station in Homs that provides several provinces with electricity and powers oil fields generators, the Observatory said.
U.S.-led warplanes also hit areas of Hasaka city in the northeast and the outskirts of Raqqa city in the north, ISIL’s de facto Syrian capital.