U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians
By Roy Gutman and Mousab Alhamadee
McClatchy Foreign Staff
January 11, 2015
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — A U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed at least 50 Syrian civilians late last month when it targeted a headquarters of Islamic State extremists in northern Syria, according to an eyewitness and a Syrian opposition human rights organization.
The civilians were being held in a makeshift jail in the town of Al Bab, close to the Turkish border, when the aircraft struck on the evening of Dec. 28, the witnesses said. The U.S. Central Command, which had not previously announced the airstrike, confirmed the attack Saturday in response to repeated McClatchy inquiries. “Coalition aircraft did strike and destroy an ISIL headquarters building in Al Bab on Dec. 28,” Col. Patrick S. Ryder said in an email.
...the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent opposition group that tracks casualties in Syria, said it has documented the deaths of at least 40 civilians in airstrikes in the months between the start of U.S. bombing in Syria Sept. 23 through the Dec. 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.
The issue of civilian deaths in U.S. strikes is a critical one as the United States hopes to win support from average Syrians for its campaign against the Islamic State. The deaths are seen by U.S.-allied moderate rebel commanders as one reason support for their movement has eroded in northern Syria while support for radical forces such as al Qaida’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State has gained.
Rebel commanders say they have intelligence that could avoid civilian casualties, but that U.S. officials refuse to coordinate with them.
Monday, January 12, 2015
This is part of what I mean by "Afghanistan."
Posted by Steve J. at 1:59 AM