A misdirected US airstrike has resulted in the death of 18 ally forces in northern Syria on Thursday, according to government officials. The allied forces were fighting ISIS at the time of a miscommunication that resulted in their deaths.
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US Central Command was apparently given the incorrect coordinates by their partnering forces on the ground, the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces. These fighters formed in October 2015 and are backed by Washington.
The SDF coalition acknowledged the death of 18 of their fighters but did not state if these deaths were related to the strike mishap.
It was not disclosed which US force was responsible for the strike. Central Command stated they will take the appropriate safeguards to prevent this from happening again.
The group’s hometown, Tal al-Abyad, is currently in a three-day mourning period. One leader of the coalition said that they plan to initiate phase four of their job taking back Raqqa, a Euphrates River city that is home to 300,000 people.
US officials expressed their “deepest condolences” to the families and loved ones of those affected by the strike.
Unfortunately, Thursday’s air strike that resulted in the allied causality was not the first report of a misdirected strike. In March, 21 civilians were killed in nine separate strikes in Iraq and Syria.
A month later, reports from Syrian media claimed that at least 15 civilians including three children were killed. The US has apologized for these miscalculations that resulted in civilians’ deaths, especially the deaths of innocent children.
Another strike in February that killed 62 soldiers and injured over hundreds more of a US-funded coalition group in Syria was an “unintentional, regrettable error,” which was “primarily based on human factors.”
Currently, the death toll that US officials acknowledge they are responsible for has reached 220 since 2014.