Families in a village near the Iraqi border buried loved ones yesterday who they said were killed when the US military launched a rare attack in Syrian territory.
The Syrian government said four US military helicopters attacked a civilian building under construction shortly before sundown on Sunday in Sukkariyeh about 8km inside the Syrian border.
The government statement said eight people were killed, including a man and his four children and a woman. However, local officials said seven men were killed and two other people were injured, including a woman.
A journalist at the funerals in the village’s cemetery saw the bodies of seven men — none of them minors. The discrepancy could not immediately be explained.
A US military official in Washington confirmed on Sunday that special forces had conducted a raid in Syria that targeted the network of al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters moving through Syria into Iraq.
Syria called the raid a “serious aggression,” and its Foreign Ministry summoned the charges d’affaires of the US and Iraq in protest.
Meanwhile, a suspected US missile strike killed up to 20 people in northwest Pakistan yesterday, officials said, the latest salvo in an intensifying assault on militant hide-outs near the Afghan border.
The reported missile strike occurred in South Waziristan, part of a belt of tribally governed territory considered a possible hiding place for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.
Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media on the record, said the targeted house in Mandata Raghzai village belonged to a lieutenant of local Taliban chief Maulvi Nazir.