US admits killing two children in Syria air strikes

US military says two children killed in air strikes last November in their first admission of civilian casualties since beginning of campaign last year

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US Central Command (CENTCOM) admitted killing two children in air strikes in northern Syria in a news release on Thursday.

Lieutenant General James L. Terry said in the statement that “preponderance of the evidence” indicates that “two non-combatant children” were killed in air strikes on November 5-6 last year.

It is the first time that the US admitted civilian casualties since it started air strikes on Aug. 8, 2014.

A May 20 report by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which tracks the conflict from Britain through contacts on the ground, claimed that 131 civilians, including 42 children and 25 women were killed in US-led air strikes in Syria since the start of the campaign.

CENTCOM revelation came as a result of an internal investigation that started on Jan. 8, 2015 and concluded on April 5, 2015.

Terry said the casualties occurred during an operation targeting “Khorasan Group,” an Al Qaeda linked group in Syria, in the vicinity of Hartim city.

“We regret the unintentional loss of lives,” Terry said.

The US has been conducting air strikes since last August mostly targeting ISIS and the SOHR says 2217 militants of the group were killed since the beginning of the campaign until May 20.

The US military is currently conducting three other internal investigations, one in Syria and two in Iraq, about allegations of civilian deaths as a result of the US air strikes.

TRTWorld and agencies