US to inspect civilian casualties in Syria

US to investigate reports of civilian deaths in Aleppo air strike

Updated Jul 28, 2015


A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Major Curtis Kellogg told Associated Press that they would look into civilian casualties on Friday air strikes and there was no information to corroborate the Observatory's claims, though the coalition has measures in place to reduce potential collateral damage.

"We currently have no information to corroborate allegations that coalition air strikes resulted in civilian casualties," Kellogg said. "Regardless, we take all allegations seriously and will look into them further."

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), US coalition air strikes killed at least 52 civilians, including seven children, and wounded dozens of others in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Friday.

“It appeared US-led strikes in the village likely killed civilians, though it is hard at this moment to speak with absolute certainty" Salem al-Meslet, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, a Western-backed umbrella opposition group, said to AP.

US-led strikes had allegedly killed at least 66 civilians in Syria from the start of the raids on 23 September until Friday’s strike, which brought the total to at least 118, reported by the Guardian.

Shaky foundation for air strikes

With the rules of engagement stating that family members of civilians who die in combat must file claims with the country responsible civilians can only know whether or not their relatives were killed by an American or British attack, however the former refuses to hear such claims.

Though the Pentagon agrees that the there is a “continued and inherent risk in these strikes,” the U.S.’ military body refuses to compensate those victimised by the strikes the way they had during the war in Afghanistan and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Pentagon has resorted to using a 72 year old law, a remnant from WWII where massive civilian casualty was viewed imminently, to state that all claims must be posted through the Foreign Claims Act, which a spokesperson for the Pentagon told the Foreign Policy journal “which generally doesn’t compensate for damage or injury caused in combat operations.”

The Foreign Claims Act prohibits the U.S. military for paying compensation for deaths and damages caused in “legitimate strikes.”

A legitimate strike according to the act must be undertaken for the preservation of national security, a pretense under which the entirety of the war against ISIS is built upon.

The London based Iraq Body Count organization reported in January that out of the 3,600 civilians killed in the Iraqi city of Falujah, half of the deaths were due to misstrikes by the anti-ISIS coalition and the Iraqi army.



TRTWorld and agencies