57 dead in US-led strikes on IS Syria prison: Monitor

Among the dead are at least 60 civilians, the activist-run Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet reported.

Mattis' comments come as USA -backed forces and militants allied with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have separately intensified efforts to control IS territory in southeast Syria and in the Euphrates River Valley.

Reporters traveling in Germany with the United States defence secretary, James Mattis, were told that the Pentagon was prepared to take action after activity was seen at the Shayrat base similar to the pattern that preceded the April gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which killed at least 80 people.

The two groups said the US -led coalition was behind the strike.

'If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price, ' it said.

It said the Mayadeen mission was "meticulously planned and executed to reduce the risk... to non-combatants".

"If we are responsible for any civilian casualties we come forth and admit it", he said.

The Observatory said the air strike took place on Monday at dawn, hitting a building in the town of al-Mayadeen that was being used as an Islamic State prison.

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In a news bulletin flashed on screen, it said the building had been used as a prison for a "large number of civilians".

But the new IS strategy is unlikely to help the fighters who have been struggling to hold territory across Iraq and Syria for months, US -backed forces say.

Most of Deir Ezzor province is controlled by the militants and it has been the target of air strikes by both the coalition and the Syrian regime army and its Russian ally.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that America will continue to provide weapons to Syrian Kurdish fighters after the battle to oust Islamic State militants from Raqqa, Syria, is over.

Late Monday, the White House issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad based on "potential" evidence that Syria was making preparations to carry out another chemical attack.

A member of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) carries a weapon in a Syrian city of Raqqa's eastern al-Sinaa district, on June 21, 2017, during an offensive by US-backed fighters to retake the Islamic State group bastion.

"The White House must have solid intelligence about a possible Syrian sarin attack but why they chose to send [a] message to Assad and Putin via press release isn't clear", Daryl Kimball, the head of the Arms Control Association said in a tweet. But Mattis also noted that YPG militants were well-armed even before the USA last month made a decision to offer more specialised equipment for its urban assault on ISIL-held city of Raqqa.

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