US says civilian deaths unintended

US-led coalition claims that its recent strikes on Syrian territories that claimed the lives of civilians was unintentional

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A civilian takes pictures of the damage created after US-led airstrikes targeted civilians in Atme village in Idlib countryside August 12, 2015.

US-led international coalition claimed that when conducting their anti-ISIS airstrikes, they took “great measures to avoid killing innocent civilians”, specifically regarding the recentairstrikes, dubbed “unintended”, on northern Syrian town of Atme which in fact lacks actual presence of ISIS insurgency.

“The coalition have taken great caution when conducting airstrikes in northern Syria to avoid civilian casualities”, US State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Spokesman Mark Toner stated that he was “not aware” of the airstrikes that were launched on the village of Atme on Tuesday leading to more than a dozen of fatalities, of whom many were women and children.

"To the extent that we can carry them out with pinpoint accuracy and spare civilian lives, we do so," Toner said, adding that all coalition airstrikes are "done in coordination to assist anti-ISIS forces on the ground."

Although the state department relinquished full responsibility regarding the recent assault, the Pentagon previously confirmed that the international coalition targets were properly identified and located during operation.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also confirmed to Anadolu Agency earlier Wednesday, that a "deliberate airstrike" was conducted in the district of Aleppo, including Atme.

"When an allegation of civilian casualties caused by coalition forces is determined to be credible, we investigate it fully and strive to learn from it so as to avoid recurrence," according to CENTCOM.

No investigations were opened to date regarding civilian casualties since the start of the coalition operations.  

CENTCOM announced that F-16 fighter jets deployed in the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey’s Adana province conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in northern Syria used the base over the weekend to participate in the mission which killed five sisters between the ages of 4 and 10.

Since the start of the operations against the growing threat and territorial control of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, the military coalition has launched nearly 5,000 airstrikes - 2,657 of in Iraq and 2,289 in Syria - causing the cost of US military operations to rise beyond $3.2 billion, according to figures released by CENTCOM.

The US-led international military intervention against ISIS became known as Operation "Inherent Resolve," and involves a combination of air strikes to slow and ideally stop ISIS advances on the ground, in addition to a training program to reinforce Iraq’s military forces.

Recently, a joint plan by Turkey and the US to create a defacto “safe” zone in northern Syria emerged after both countries agreed to increase cooperation against ISIS.

Ahrar al Sham, one of the Syrian opposition fighting factions mainly operating in the country's north, published a statement on Tuesday supporting the Turkey-US plans to create a safe zone in northern Syria saying it “will have positive repercussions on the humanitarian, political and military levels.”

TRTWorld and agencies