At least 15 civilians killed in US-led coalition airstrike in Syria

At least 15 civilians were killed and 20 injured in an airstrike by the US-led coalition against Islamic State in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said on Wednesday, as Kurdish forces were set to advance against the extremist militia in the area.

The airstrike reportedly hit a bakery in the Shaddadi area, in southern al-Hassakeh province.

"One of the strikes hit a bakery where people were lining up at dawn to get bread," the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman told dpa, adding that there were several strikes in the area.

Abdel Rahman said the raids coincided with an attack launched by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) against Islamic State.

The Kurds have been the main force on the ground pushing back Islamic State, often aided by US-led airstrikes. Islamic State controls large swaths of territory in the area, allowing the group to cross between Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The YPG has been aiming since late last year to cut off the extremists' supply route to Iraq, where it was founded.

The YPG has also been advancing in western Syria against rebels, aided in the area by Russian airstrikes.

This has alarmed Turkey, which has been shelling the Kurdish militia and fears rising nationalism among its own Kurdish minority and the YPG's links to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Turkey is calling for a buffer zone in northern Syria, just over its border, as it watches rebel factions it supports collapse. Tens of thousands of displaced people are also near the Turkish border in Aleppo province, fleeing the violence.

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid by the UN and other partners are scheduled to enter at least five besieged areas in Syria.

The areas involved are Foa and Kafraya in the northwestern Idlib province, Madaya, Zabadani, and Maadamiyat al-Sham in rural Damascus, a UN source said.

"Convoys are being loaded," said Linda Tom, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Amman, Jordan without elaborating.

Syria agreed on Tuesday to allow aid convoys to besieged areas following a visit by the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

However, hopes are fading that a ceasefire will be implemented this week, as world powers had called for at the Munich security conference last week.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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