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Strike kills 19 civilians in IS-held Syria village: monitor

BEIRUT: Three children were among at least 19 civilians killed in an air strike on a village held by the Islamic State group in northern Syria on Wednesday, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was unclear whether the strike was carried out by the US-led coalition fighting IS, or Turkey, which is leading an operation against the jihadists in the area with support from Syrian rebel forces.

The strike hit the village of Thalthana, in northern Aleppo province, the Britain-based monitor said.

Thalthana lies near the key IS stronghold of Al-Bab, and is just 12 kilometres (eight miles) south-east of the jihadist-held Dabiq, which Turkish-backed rebels have been pushing towards in recent days.

Turkey began its unprecedented operation inside Syria, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield, on August 24.

Ankara says it is targeting IS but also the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be a “terrorist” group despite their fight against IS.

Dabiq holds symbolic importance for IS because of a Sunni prophecy that states it will be the site of an end-of-times battle between Christian forces and Muslims.

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