US investigating alleged civilian casualties by airstrikes in Syrian town

File photo showing anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria's northern city of Kobane

ARA News 

ALEPPO – The US-led coalition forces said they are investigating three separate allegations of civilian casualties that have been reported during anti-ISIS airstrikes in northern Syria.

“To clarify, we have looked into three separate allegations. As I mentioned last week and Captain Davis mentioned yesterday, the allegation for the strike that occurred on the 19th is currently under formal investigation, and that investigation is proceeding,” Colonel Christopher Garver, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said on Friday. 

“The second allegation from July 23rd of an alleged strike in the village of al-Nawaja, which is east of Manbij, was determined to be not credible enough to warrant further investigation primarily because the JCTF did not conduct any strikes in that geographic location,” he said.

Carver added that the US Central Command has initiated an assessment of a strike that potentially caused civilian casualties in northwest of Manbij on 28 July. “This incident has been found to be credible enough to warrant a formal investigation, which is underway,” he said.

Senior Kurdish defence official in Syria, Rezan Gullo, told ARA News that the media reports that suggest that the US-coalition airstrikes killed civilians are ‘pro-ISIS propaganda’.

Also other SDF officials have rejected these allegations as propaganda, in order to undermine the operations against ISIS in Manbij.

“The people who leave [Manbij] are killed by ISIS. This is ISIS, they don’t care about civilians and just do everything to kill and they have a terrorist system, but we US-backed SDF forces] are different,” Gullo said.

“We train our fighters on Geneva conventions to protect and liberate civilians. That’s why the war is very difficult,” he told ARA News.

The Pentagon agrees with Kurdish officials that ISIS is not taking any steps to protect civilians. “They are not taking steps to protect civilians — innocent civilian life,” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said late July, rejecting calls by the Syrian opposition to halt air strikes.

“I imagine you would be asking me some of the same questions if those forces [SDF] came under attack from ISIL, because we weren’t providing some of the air support to them.” 

Mustafa Humaydi (55), a Syrian citizen from Manbij, told ARA News that he was injured by an ISIS mine. “Damn ISIS,” he said. “When I touched a wire, the mine exploded, and my son was killed.” 

“Everyone hate ISIS, they are like vampires, ISIS fighters killed 30 people in the Misheirfa square in Manbij,” Humaydi said.

“The coalition airstrikes just hit ISIS members,” he told ARA News. “Sometimes SDF forces are forced to target populated areas since ISIS members hide among civilians.” 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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