US airstrikes kills 73 civilians in a Syrian village

What is said to be the deadliest coalition attack so far, engulfing a majority of women and children, against the Islamic state.

The bombing was part of a two-month plan to seize the town of Manbij, a strategic centre and important to any future advance on Islamic State’s de facto capital, Raqqa. Activists had warned of high civilian casualty rates from airstrikes in Manbij even before the latest airstrike.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, what was described as a coalition aircraft hitting a group of houses in the village of Tokkhar, where nearly 200 people had gathered to seek shelter as the frontline shifted towards their homes. Most of those inside were killed or injured.

Overall, the US military has confirmed 36 civilian deaths , a number independent observers consider too low to be credible, considering the amount killed from the daily barrage of air-delivered US ordnance for nearly two years.

Ashton Carter, the US defense secretary, cited the importance of the ongoing fight during a meeting outside Wednesday of defence ministers from the anti-Isis coalition, where they are expected to discuss the capture of Raqqa.