Syria says US claim it hit civilians with air strikes ‘fabricated’
About 100 people were killed in Raqqa province in assault blamed on Assad forces
A man makes his way through rubble at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa. Photograph: Nour Fourat/Reuters.
Syria has said US accusations that its forces are targeting civilians with air strikes are “fabricated” and that Washington would do better to criticise hardline Islamic State militants who have killed American citizens.
The US State Department said on Wednesday it was “horrified” by Syrian government bombings in Raqqa province which it said had killed “dozens of civilians and demolished residential areas”.
He said Washington got its information from “terrorist organisations” in Syria such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
Tuesday’s government strikes on the northern province killed 95 civilians, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Raqqa is the stronghold of Islamic State, a hardline al-Qaeda offshoot which has seized land in Syria and Iraq.
Both the Syrian military and US-led forces are bombing Syrian targets in separate campaigns and both say they are pursuing militant groups.
“The US State Department should rather have shown respect for the souls of American victims at the hands of terrorists from the Daesh (Islamic State) organisation and not directed fabricated accusations towards the Syrian state which has been facing terrorism for years,” Mr Zoubi was quoted as saying.
Three US civilians - two journalists and an aid worker - have been beheaded by Islamic State.
The government of president Bashar al-Assad has characterised all opponents of his rule as extremists.
“Everyone has to choose between two options - either you are with terrorism, Daesh, Nusra Front and others or you are countering terrorism,” Zoubi said.
The United Nations estimates that some 200,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war since 2011.