Middle East

US 'horrified' by Syrian raids on Raqqa

A man walks amidst smoke and fire following a reportedly air strike by Syrian government forces in the ISIS controlled Syrian city of Raqqa, on Nov. 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO/RMC/STR

WASHINGTON: The United States said Wednesday it was "horrified" by Syrian government airstrikes on the ISIS stronghold Raqqa that killed at least 95 people, slamming the government for its "continued slaughter."

The bombing Tuesday was the deadliest by President Bashar Assad's air force since ISIS jihadis seized the city last year and declared it their capital.

It was not clear how many ISIS members were killed, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than half of the dead were civilians.

The U.S. State Department condemned the strikes, and said the regime had no value for human life.

"We are horrified by the reports that the Assad regime's airstrikes yesterday in Raqqa, Syria killed dozens of civilians and demolished residential areas," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"The Assad regime's continued slaughter of Syrian civilians further exposes its callous disregard for human life."

She said Assad had lost his right to rule, and said his actions should be held accountable.

"We've been clear that Assad long ago lost all legitimacy to govern and that the Syrian regime must be held responsible for its brutality and atrocities against the Syrian people."

Psaki blamed Assad's government for continued human rights abuses and violating international law, accusing the regime of "murder, hostage-taking, enforced disappearances, torture, rape, sexual violence and the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs."

The United States has built up a coalition of more than 60 countries in the fight against the ISIS militants who have seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected an alliance with Assad against ISIS, arguing that any such pact would backfire.

Obama has said communication with the Assad regime was limited to informing them when they use Syrian air space in operations against the jihadis.

 

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