US Denies Launching Airstrike that Killed 42 Civilians in Syria

May 18th, 2017 - by admin

Erika Solomon / Financial Times & Jason Ditz / – 2017-05-18 00:12:04

US Accused of Killing 40 Civilians in Syria
Erika Solomon / Financial Times

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said jets thought to belong to the US-led coalition hit the town. (Reuters)

(May 17, 2017) — More than 40 civilians have been killed in a suspected US-led coalition strike in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesman for the coalition, denied any of its aircraft had struck the city of al-Bukamal on Monday, the day activists reported more than 23 civilian deaths.

The Britain-based monitoring group with a network of activists in Syria, now says the toll has increased to 42 and may rise again because dozens of wounded civilians were in critical condition and others were buried under the rubble.

It is difficult to verify conflicting reports on such strikes with no foreign media or international monitors in the area.

The US-led campaign against Isis, the jihadi group that holds territory across Syria and Iraq, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months due to the number of civilian casualties.

A strike in Mosul in March was reported to have killed 200 people, and a series of raids has been linked to many deaths in Syria. A strike that same month on a mosque in northwestern Syria targeted al-Qaeda militants and is believed to have also killed more than 45 civilians.

Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the monitoring group, stood by local activist reports that a coalition plane was probably behind the strike. Aircraft had been seen approaching from nearby Iraq so were unlikely to be from the Syrian or Russian air forces.

“This is likely the biggest civilian death toll in a single strike since the mosque air strike,” said Mr. Abdelrahman. Monday’s strike on al-Bukamal hit a residential building containing many Isis militants, of whom at least 20 killed in addition to civilians.

The US-led coalition against Isis, partnered with local ground forces, has wrested back much of the territory Isis seized in 2014. Isis now controls less than 7 percent of the territory it initially captured.

Al-Bukamal, on the Syrian-Iraqi border, is in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir Ezzor, expected to be the jihadi group’s last main stronghold.

US Denies Launching Airstrikes on
Syrian Town That Killed 42 Civilians

Jason Ditz /

(May 16, 2017) — The death toll of yesterday’s apparent US airstrikes against the ISIS-held Syrian border town of Abu Kamal continued to rise today, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that 42 civilians have now died as a result of the attack, which targeted a residential area and adjoining mosque.

The Pentagon was mum on the incident yesterday, but today issued a blanket denial, insisting that they had carried out no airstrikesagainst Abu Kamal, nor had any members of their coalition. They did however say they attacked oil production facilities just outside of the town, which is on the Iraqi border.

It’s hard to imagine that the US warplanes could’ve “missed” the oil facilities by 50 km and hit the town without knowing about it, and the town was undoubtedly hit. That the US is not providing any information is curious, as they are admitting to operating adjacent to the town, and would doubtless know if someone else was operating there.

Outside of the US coalition, the only country that has any history of attacking Abu Kamal at all is Iraq, whose Air Force has launched some cross-border strikes in the past. Still, the most likely answer is that the US and its coalition partners carried out attacks that didn’t go as planned, and the Pentagon is trying to avoid talking about it.

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