USA strikes killed 18 SDF militants in Syria: Pentagon

Apr 14, 2017, 10:42

A "misdirected" US airstrike this week in Syria killed 18 coalition forces, American military officials said Thursday.

"A coalition air strike in support of partnered forces fighting ISIS south of Tabqah, Syria, resulted in 18 Syrian Democratic Forces personnel killed April 11", reads the statement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

An American airstrike against suspected Islamic State positions near the Syrian city of Raqqa ended with almost 20 militia members allied with the US -backed coalition dead.

"The Coalition's deepest condolences go out to the members of the SDF and their families", the command said.

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The strike Tuesday by an aircraft from the US -led coalition was called in by American allies, the USA military says. The group acknowledges, however, that numerous reports are unconfirmed.

The target location was actually a forward Syrian Democratic Forces fighting position.

The April 11 friendly fire incident was not the first in the history of the United States military campaign in Syria.

The actions of the coalition also repeatedly led to casualties among civilians. According to the Coalition's December report, 54 civilians were "inadvertently killed" in seven strikes between March and October 2016.

This comes at a time when the Defense Department had already launched a probe into previous attacks gone wrong, including that of last month's airstrike which killed dozens of civilians near a building west of Mosul, Iraq, and 30 innocents at a mosque in the Raqqa province of Syria last month.

The General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces, in a statement released on Thursday, announced that the airstrike had taken place in the eastern village of Hatla, near the city of Dayr al-Zawr, at around 5:30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) the previous day. ISIS was fighting to hold their position; they continue to lose ground.

The coalition is investigating the incident and "will implement appropriate safeguards" to prevent it from happening again, according to Central Command, which oversees US operations in the Middle East.