A misdirected airstrike by the US-led coalition earlier this week killed 18 allied fighters battling the Islamic State in northern Syria, the US military said Thursday. US Central Command said coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by their partner forces, the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, for a strike intended to target ISIS militants south of their Tabqa stronghold, near the extremists' de facto capital, Raqqa. The strike hit an SDF position instead, killing 18. Central Command said the strike was launched Tuesday. Several nations have lent their air power to the US-led coalition to defeat the ISIS. It was not clear which air force was behind the strike.
The SDF acknowledged the strike on Thursday, saying a number of its fighters were killed and wounded. The SDF-linked Hawar News Agency reported the group was holding funerals for 17 of its fighters in the border town of Tal al-Abyad, though it did not link them to the strike. An activist-run group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, says three days of mourning have been declared for the town. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 25 SDF fighters were killed in the last two days of battle. The SDF, meanwhile, announced the launch of a fourth phase of their campaign to capture Raqqa, a Euphrates River city that is home to 300,000 people. (Read more Syria stories.)