BEIRUT: US-led coalition air strikes killed nearly 60 people at a Syrian prison run by the Daesh group, a monitor said Tuesday, as Washington insisted the jihadists remain its only target.
The coalition has been hitting Daesh in Syria and Iraq since mid-2014 but has also been involved in recent confrontations with President Bashar Assad’s forces, raising fears of the United States being drawn into Syria’s civil war.
The White House on Monday accused Assad’s regime of preparing a potential chemical attack and warned it would pay a “heavy price,” but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington was determined to keep a strict focus on fighting Daesh.
Monday’s strikes hit an Daesh-run jail in Syria’s Mayadeen at dawn, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP the strikes killed 42 prisoners and 15 jihadists in Mayadeen, a large town in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
Most of Deir Ezzor province is controlled by the jihadists and it has been the target of air strikes by both the coalition and the Syrian army and its Russian ally.
The US-led coalition said last week that it had killed Daesh top cleric Turki Binali in a May 31 strike on Mayadeen.