The U.S. military has confessed the airstrikes it launched in Syria late 2014 had claimed the lives of two children.
The investigation conducted by the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force revealed the airstrikes killed two “non-combatant children” on Nov. 5 and 6, 2014. The deaths occurred near the town of Harim, Syria. The children were believed to be girls. The airstrikes were targeted towards the explosives manufacturing facility of the Khorasan group, an al-Qaeda cell.
Lieutenant General James L. Terry, Commander for the Combined Joint Task Force, said the deaths were unintentional. “We regret it.” He noted the Coalition prepares and conducts “all reasonable measures” during the targeting process in order to prevent such events to happen.
The children, based on the 76-page report, were found to be non-residents of the target areas. “In that assessment process, there was no indication that there were children at any of the targeted buildings.”
Thursday’s revelations is the first of four ongoing investigations the U.S. military is conducting to verify allegations if the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State militants and other extremists that that began in August 2014 had killed civilians. The other three investigations concerning civilian casualties involve two in Iraq and another in Syria.
The U.S. maintained from the start its airstrikes were fool-proof and that it had not involved civilian casualties. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, for this month alone, said an airstrike had struck a civilian village by mistake. Dead were 52 people, including seven children.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, in a report released March 2015, said there have been at least 103 civilians who died since the airstrikes began. The figures included 11 women and 11 children.
The U.S.-led coalition have launched 2,458 airstrikes in Iraq and 1,593 strikes in Syria since August.