“Most of these people had taken shelter in this building from the fighting and the planes. They were hiding for their lives,” said one witness.
Reports emerged Wednesday that U.S. planes bombed a school sheltering displaced civilians just west of the Syrian town of Raqqa, killing an estimated 33 civilians.
According to a local group called Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, the school was sheltering around 50 families fleeing violence in the face of mounting U.S. backed coalition attacks on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, reported The Independent.
“There were only two survivors from this,” said one witness, according to The Guardian. “And they have still been buried. Most of these people, maybe all of them, had taken shelter in this building from the fighting and the planes. They were hiding for their lives.”
While U.S. officials did not confirm the attack on the shelter, they did acknowledge carrying out airstrikes in the area ahead of Wednesday’s deployment of Kurdish ground forces as part of the offensive against Raqqa.
Reuters reported that the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said local activists counted “at least” 33 bodies recovered from the bombed out school building just outside the village of al-Mansoura, in northern Syria.
The bombing comes less than a week after another reported U.S. bombing, of a Mosque in the Syrian town of al-Jinah, killed an estimated 41 civilians.
Monday’s attack, also coming in the wake of a high-profile U.S. massacre of civilians in Yemen, has heightened concerns that the Trump administration will prove even deadlier than former President Obama’s.
Some suspect that Trump has loosened restrictions on the use of drones — which increased dramatically and to deadly effect under President Obama — and other military tactics in ISIS-held areas, thus further endangering civilian populations caught in between.
“There has not been a decree to that effect yet,” an unnamed senior regional military source told The Guardian. “But there has been a definite change in mood. Often that is all it takes.”