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US-led air raids in Syria 'kill 100 pro-Assad fighters'

Syria accuses US-led coalition of 'war crimes' after air raids in oil-rich Deir Az Zor province target its fighters.

The city of Deir Az Zor

Syria has accused the US-led coalition of "war crimes" after air raids in oil-rich Deir Az Zor province targeted its fighters.

A US official told Reuters news agency on Thursday that more than 100 pro-government fighters were killed in the overnight raids.

The US said they had responded to an "unprovoked attack" against the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but did not give any details on casualties.

Syrian state-run media also said the coalition had bombed government-backed troops in Khusham overnight. 

The Syrian government described the air raids as a "a new aggression that poses a war crime and a crime against humanity".

It called on the UN Security Council to condemn the "massacre", according to state news agency SANA. 

Russia, an ally of Assad, said the goal of the US military presence in Syria is "aimed at taking control fo the country's economic assets and not at fighting against [ISIL]", Russian news agency TASS reported. 

The SDF is a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters led by the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG). 

Washington depended heavily upon them in the fight against ISIL over the years and now find themselves in a situation where it's pegged against Turkey and others who accuse this militia of essentially being just as bad as ISIL themselves.

The air raids coincided with escalating violence elsewhere in Syria.

More than 200 people were killed in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta and in Idlib, while Turkey continues a military offensive to clear the YPG from the northwestern border town of Afrin. 

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