Middle East News

Boat carrying 40 people fleeing Islamic State sinks in lake near Raqqa, Syria

A boat carrying around 40 people fleeing Islamic State sank in the Tabqa Dam Reservoir on April 8, media reported.

A boat carrying around 40 people fleeing Islamic State sank in the Tabqa Dam Reservoir on April 8, Syrian media reported.

Activist Mahab Nasser said people from Shu’ayb al-Dhikr found the bodies of a woman and 6 of her daughters floating in the lake near the village, Zaman al-Wasl reported. The reservoir is also known as Lake Euphrates and Lake Assad.

Nasser said the boat left the previous night with about 40 passengers from the village of Dabsi Faraj who were trying to cross the Tabqa Dam Reservoir to territory controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces and that it sank in the middle of the lake.

Nasser claimed the boat belonged to smugglers who transport people from Islamic State-held areas.

Step News Agency reported that the passengers were mostly women and children, and that fishermen in the area rescued some people after the boat sank.

Baladi News cited Nasser as saying the boat sank after it was hit by aircraft from the US-led coalition. This claim was not reported by other outlets.

The coalition airstrike report for April 7 said that near Tabqa “seven strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed four vehicles, three fighting positions, and two tactical vehicles; and suppressed nine ISIS tactical units.”

There have been a number of recent reports of coalition aircraft targeting boats  in the Raqqa area. On April 6, activists said that five people including a child were killed when a boat crossing the Euphrates near Raqqa was hit by an airstrike.

A spokesperson for the coalition told Grasswire that it “does not appear to have conducted any strikes on watercraft near Raqqah between 2-6 April.”

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