The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that American-led airstrikes against targets inside of Syria reportedly hit a grain silo and caused a number of civilian casualties. As the AP reported, Rami Abdurrahman, the group's director, said the civilians were killed in overnight coalitions raids on four different Syrian provinces.
They killed only civilians there, workers at the site. There was no ISIS inside," he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. The airstrikes "destroyed the food that was stored there."
As the United States steps up its targeting of Islamic State installations within Syria, the specter of civilian casualties could undermine the international coalition in the fight against ISIS including several Sunni Arab states.
American officials have also been courting neighboring Turkey to further commit its energies to combatting ISIS. Last night's airstrikes were said to have struck a town near the border between Turkey and Syria as well as the entrance to Syria's largest gas facility, but the value of the targets remains in dispute.
Mehmet Ozer told The Associated Press by telephone that the raids hit an abandoned military base and an empty school, sending pillars of smoke and dust into the air. He said Islamic State fighters cleared out of the military about three or four months ago.
As Reuters noted, this isn't the first incident in which Syrian civilians have been injured or killed in the American-led airstrikes.
Meanwhile, President Obama continued to make his case for American involvement in Syria. In an interview that aired last night on 60 Minutes, the president told Steve Kroft that he agreed with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's assessment that ISIS' capabilities had been underestimated and that the readiness of the Iraqi army had been overestimated. He also stressed a political solution was needed for the crises in Iraq and Syria.