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U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria kill civilians, rights groups say

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN | Updated 4:46 PM ET, Wed July 20, 2016

(CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that the Pentagon will look into reports that the U.S.-led coalition in Syria has killed more than 100 civilians since June.

Human rights groups said Tuesday that airstrikes in and around the ISIS-controlled city of Manbij had killed many residents and wounded dozens more.

    Carter said the coalition was aware of the reports.

    "We'll ... continue to do all we can to protect civilians from harm," he said at anti-ISIS coalition defense ministerial news conference at Joint Base Andrews near Washington. "Being scrupulously careful in avoiding civilian casualties and being transparent about this issue is a reflection of the civilized nature of this coalition."

    The Manbij area is the last large tract of land along Syria's northern border with Turkey under ISIS control, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Considered a strategic supply point between Raqqa and Turkey, it has become the site of intense fighting since a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias entered the city in June.

    Though accounts vary, human rights group said airstrikes this week killed dozens of people, pushing the death toll past 100.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes Tuesday killed 56 people, including 11 children, in the countryside north of Manbij.

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