18 Killed Mistaken for ISIS Latest In String Of Friendly Fire Incidents Under Trump
U.S. coalition accidentally targeted Syrian allies
The U.S. coalition has admitted a terrible accident that took place on Tuesday in a misdirected airstrike in Syria that left casualties among its allies. According to Pentagon sources, an aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition accidentally bombed friendly Syrian forces in northern Syria while fighting the Islamic State, leaving 18 people dead. The strike targeted by error the SDF or Syrian Democratic Forces, a group of various Kurdish and Arab fighters near the town of Tabqah. As a result, the SDF’s General Command stated
“The general leadership of SDF in coordination with international coalition will investigate the reasons behind the accident in order to prevent it happening again.”
The accident comes a month after the SDF and the U.S. coalition managed to land behind ISIS lines in the beginning of an attempt to seize Tabqah. Unfortunately, it is not the only incident of the kind among allies in Syria, and it is just the latest among a series of U.S.-led strikes that have hit friendly targets. Less than a month ago, a U.S. strike was believed to have been responsible for 200 civilians killed in an airstrike in the city of Mosul. According to The New York Times, it is in fact the third incident in just a month.
The Washington Post has called this the worst friendly-fire accident in the war against ISIS in Syrian territory. It is still unclear if any other country of the coalition (Belgium, Australia, Denmark, Bahrein, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, and United Arab Emirates) aside of the United States was involved in the mistaken airstrike. However, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement
With the increased frequency of attacks against ISIS, civilian casualties and military mistakes such as this also tend to increase. Military speaking, avoiding errors like Tuesday’s is essential particularly in such a complex conflict. Yet, when it comes to civilians many may refer to these as ‘collateral damage’, but the moral question behind how ‘collateral’ civilian casualties are remains and matters greatly in a conflict where morality is also at stake (specially if we want to judge al-Assad’s regime and the alleged use of chemical weapons).
Featured image via Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images News