US airstrike in Syria killed 50 civilians last month: Reports
Iran Press TV
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:59PM
A US airstrike killed tens of Syrian civilians trapped in an ISIL prison last month, witness accounts say.
The airstrike that targeted ISIL positions in northern Syria on December 28 killed at least 50 Syrians, who were being held in a jail in the town of Al Bab, close to the Turkish border.
The building, called the Al Saraya, a government center, was leveled in the airstrike, Tribune News Service reported. It took days for civil defense workers to dig out the victims' bodies.
The US Central Command had not announced the airstrike but eventually did confirm the attack on Saturday in response to repeated inquiries.
"Coalition aircraft did strike and destroy an ISIL headquarters building in Al Bab on Dec. 28," Col. Patrick S. Ryder wrote in an email.
Ryder said a review of the airstrike showed no evidence of civilian casualties but "since we take all allegations seriously," he said they could examine the information.
US officials acknowledged for the first time last week "at least a few" claims of civilian casualties as a result of airstrikes on Syria.
"This is something we always take seriously," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. "We are very mindful of trying to mitigate the risk to civilians every time we operate, everywhere we operate."
Central Command told reporters in an email that the Pentagon had received nine reports of civilian deaths in Syria. No details of the incidents were provided.
A Britain-based rights group said its records show the deaths of at least 40 civilians in airstrikes between the start of US bombings in Syria on September 23 through the December 28 strike on Al Bab.
The deaths include 13 people killed in Idlib province on the first day of the strikes. Other deaths include 23 civilians killed in the eastern province of Deir el Zour, two in Raqqa province and two more in Idlib province.
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