Pentagon: Syria Strike 'Likely' Killed 2 Kids

Civilian casualties acknowledged for first time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2015 3:53 AM CDT
Pentagon: Syria Strike 'Likely' Killed 2 Kids
A plume of smoke rises after an airstrike by the US-led coalition against ISIS positions in Ramadi, Iraq.   (AP Photo)

For the first time, the Pentagon has acknowledged that one of the thousands of airstrikes the US-led anti-ISIS coalition has carried out since last August probably killed civilians. After a monthslong investigation, Central Command released a statement saying two children were "likely" killed in a November strike in Syria targeting the Khorasan group, reports the Guardian, which notes that the US has long denied causing any civilian casualties during the campaign in Iraq and Syria.

  • "We regret the unintentional loss of lives," the operation's commander said in the statement, adding that the coalition continues to "take all reasonable measures during the targeting process to mitigate risks to non-combatants."

  • Officials say the military is investigating another report of civilian casualties in Syria and two from Iraq, though a defense official tells the Washington Post that the lack of US troops on the ground makes it hard to verify airstrike deaths.
  • A Pentagon spokeswoman says a total of 46 reports of civilian casualties have been examined since August, of which 35 were dismissed because they were deemed not credible or because there was no evidence, the BBC reports.
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group says coalition strikes have killed 131 civilians, 42 of them children, along with more than 2,200 ISIS fighters and hundreds of militants from other groups.
  • The Pentagon also announced yesterday that it's sending 2,000 antitank weapons to Iraqi forces to help them counter the suicide car bomb tactics that helped ISIS seize Ramadi last week, the Post reports. And ISIS now has more vehicles: The AP reported earlier this week that Iraqi troops abandoned dozens of US-supplied military vehicles when they fled Ramadi, including around half a dozen tanks.
(Read more US military stories.)

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