A US-led coalition has carried out at least 150 air strikes on the Islamic State group to back an offensive near the jihadists’ northern Syria stronghold, a monitor said Friday.
The coalition, as well as US special operations forces, is supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces as they advance in the northern province of Raqa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 150 strikes had targeted IS positions around the flashpoint towns of Tal Abyad and Ain Issa since the push was launched on Tuesday.
“There has been a serious intensification of air strikes, but they were most intense on the first day of the operation,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
Abdel Rahman specified that his usage of the word “strike” referred to a missile hitting a target.
The coalition has confirmed carrying out air strikes near Ain Issa and Raqa, but it uses a different definition of “strikes” which makes the tallies difficult to compare.
The Britain-based Observatory also said that clashes in rural territory in northern Raqa province had left at least 31 IS fighters dead since Tuesday.
“There are definitely casualties among the SDF`s ranks but they are not releasing any figures,” he said.
“There are almost no civilians in the villages where the fighting is happening, which is why there is no civilian death toll,” Abdel Rahman said.