US admits civilian deaths, says Daesh bears responsibility
Iran Press TV
Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:45PM
The US military has acknowledged that its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq killed two more civilians and injured some others, but said the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group bears responsibility.
The Pentagon announced Friday that its airstrikes near the Syrian city of Raqqah last year had killed two civilians and injured four others in separate incidents last July.
US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees operations in the Middle East said 'the preponderance of evidence' indicated the five separate US strikes had 'likely resulted in the death of two civilians.' According to CENTCOM, the civilian deaths came during four US airstrikes in Syria and one in Iraq.
One of the civilians had been killed in airstrikes carried out in July 4 and the other in July 11. The first hit a truck and trailer, the second a vehicle crossing a bridge.
The casualties bring to 16, the total number of civilians the US-led coalition has acknowledged killing in the two countries since August 2014.
CENTCOM spokesman Colonel Pat Ryder said Washington regretted the loss of life, but said Daesh bore responsibility.
'It's worth mentioning ISIL's (Daesh) culpability as they continue to operate and hide among innocent civilians and populated areas in an attempt to avoid being targeted,' Ryder said.
He praised the ongoing aerial bombardment as the 'most precise air campaign in history,' saying the US has so far dropped some 35,000 guided bombs in Iraq and Syria in nearly 9,800 airstrikes.
The US launched its airstrikes purportedly against Daesh inside Syria in August 2014, without any authorization from Damascus or the UN. It has also been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq since June 2014 allegedly targeting Daesh terrorists in north and west of the country.
'While we do our best to minimize civilian casualties through our careful targeting process and our use of precise weapons systems, we also operate in a dynamic environment and unfortunately we cannot guarantee zero civilian casualties in an armed conflict such as this one,' said Ryder.
Last week, the Pentagon admitted the death of eight other civilians in airstrikes carried out from April to July of last year in Iraq and Syria. It said three civilians were also injured.
Reports, however, pointed to more civilian casualties than the Pentagon has admitted. Airwars, a group of independent journalists, reported in August that the airstrikes had killed "many hundreds' of civilians in Iraq and Syria.
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