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29 Jul, 2016 18:44

Syria says latest US-led coalition strikes killed 45 civilians near Manbij

Syria has appealed to the UN claiming that 45 civilians were killed and 50 injured in US-led coalition airstrikes outside the city of Manbij near Aleppo on Thursday.

“In two letters addressed to head of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General, the [foreign] ministry called for stopping attacks and atrocities committed against civilians, calling for bringing the perpetrators to justice,” stated the Syrian state news agency SANA.

The letters went on to say that any counterterrorism efforts in Syria are doomed unless done in cooperation with the Syrian government in accordance with international law and the UN Charter.”

On Thursday night, US Central Command (CENTCOM) acknowledged that the airstrikes “may have resulted in civilian casualties,” but did not name a figure, pending a likely future investigation.

CENTCOM said the aerial bombardment had been aimed at driving out ISIS forces concentrated in Manjib, a strategic waypoint on the road to the Islamists’ “capital city” of Raqqa.

Commenting on the CENTCOM statement, White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said on Friday that “they’ll see if additional action is necessary,” without elaborating.

He added that “this administration, the United States government takes all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimalizing civilian casualties.”

SANA said that a “massacre” occurred in the village of al-Ghandoura and “on the heels of this appalling crime, ISIS brutally murdered 24 civilians from the locals of al-Bweir village,” which is also located near Manjib.

The ministry cited striking similarities between the massacres committed by the US-led Coalition and the terrorist organizations in an attempt to exacerbate the situation across Syria following the Syrian army’s recent wins in Aleppo city,” continued the letter to the UN quoted by the agency.

READ MORE: US CENTCOM probing civilian deaths in new Manbij, Syria strike; rolls out ‘confirmed’ 2015 toll

“Concluding the letters, the ministry vowed continued efforts to fight terrorism in parallel with political endeavors to reach a solution for the crisis through an intra-Syrian dialogue without foreign interference, urging the UN Security Council to enforce its anti-terrorism resolutions against the countries backing terrorism.”

The latest incident comes two days after the US opened an investigation into the deaths of at least 73 civilians in the same area during another Coalition airstrike on July 19.

Detroit-based journalist Abayomi Azikiwe, an editor at Pan-African News Wire, told RT that a lack of cooperation between the US government and that of President Bashar Assad, whose exit Washington considers “a prerequisite” for peace, may be the main reason American airstrikes are claiming civilian lives en masse. 

“As long as they continue to not work with the Syrian government we are going to continue to see more of these attacks resulting in civilian casualties,” Azikiwe said, pointing out that Syria “never invited the United States to bomb any of its territory.”

Azikiwe noted that, while Washington admits it inflicts casualties and pledges to look into cases of civilian deaths, the US military is reluctant to prosecute its own officers and commanders, who bear responsibility for ordering strikes.

READ MORE:US Kunduz inquiry lacks transparency, no deterrent against similar potential attacks – MSF to RT

“These incidents occur on a regular bases and nothing is ever done about it,” the journalist said, while stressing it is “innocent people who are being killed, injured, and also being displaced, adding to the almost 11 million Syrians and foreigners who live in Syria and who have been displaced for the last 5 years as a result of this war.”

As long as the US pursues its current strategy in Syria, the conflict is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, Azikiwe acknowledged, saying that US officials “have no endgame in this entire process.” Moreover, calls for more aggressive action to be taken against America’s so-called “enemies”– a term that Azikiwe says has not even been clearly defined – can be heard at major political events, such as the recently convened Democratic Presidential Convention.