Errors led to coalition strike on Syria forces: Pentagon
WASHINGTONA string of miscommunications, intelligence shortcomings and human errors resulted in a U.S.-led coalition air strike in Syria in September that reportedly killed around 90 regime forces, the Pentagon said Nov. 29, AFP reported.
American, Australian, British and Danish planes all took part in the massive air strike, which saw a total of 34 guided bombs and hundreds of rounds of high-caliber ammunition blasted at what were believed to be the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets.
There were “errors in the development of intelligence, as well as missed opportunities for coalition members on duty to recognize and voice contrary evidence to decision makers,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said.
The statement, which followed a six-week probe, marked the U.S. military’s first formal admission of fault into the Sept.17 attack near Deir Ezzor.
The U.S.-led coalition is focused on attacking ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and is eager to avoid getting involved in Syria’s brutal civil war.
Regime officials have accused the coalition of intentionally killing its troops, but CENTCOM stressed the attack was conducted in the “good faith” belief it was targeting ISIL.
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Richard Coe, who investigated the case, told reporters the probe had only conclusively counted 15 deaths, but acknowledged the toll was possibly much higher.
Meanwhile, Syrian government artillery fire killed 21 civilians, including two children, in an eastern district of Aleppo early Nov. 30, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least eight of those killed were civilians who had fled from elsewhere in the east as government forces advance, and sought refuge in rebel-held Jubb al-Qubbeh.
The Britain-based monitor said dozens more were wounded in the “fierce” shelling, and many people were stuck under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Tens of thousands of people have poured out of the rebel-held northeast in recent days, with some crossing into territory held by either the government or Kurdish forces, but others moving south into remaining rebel-held territory.