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US drone raid in NW Syria kills 17 civilians, militants

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US military forces have reportedly killed 17 militants and civilians in a drone strike in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, identifying the targets as leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked group.

“US Forces conducted a strike against a group of al-Qaeda in Syria (AQ-S) senior leaders meeting near Idlib, Syria,” claimed the Spokeswoman for the US Central Command (CENTCOM), Maj. Beth Riordan, as cited in an AFP report on Saturday.

“The removal of these AQ-S leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners and innocent civilians,” Riordan said in a statement.

Although the CENTCOM spokeswoman did not specify the number of those killed in the intrusion and assassination strike in Syria, the UK-based group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said at least five civilians were among those killed in the US drone attack.

Other terrorist groups, including the rival al-Qaeda affiliate, Hurras al-Deen faction, are also present and active in the area.

The report further cited SOHR Chief Rami Abdel Rahman as claiming that five non-Syrian terrorists were among those killed in the US drone attack, but added that their nationalities were not immediately known.

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