US coalition admits Deir ez-Zor strike, promises to investigate 12 reported civilian casualties
The airstrike near the Syrian city of Mayadin, one of the last Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) strongholds, located 40 kilometers southeast of the Deir ez-Zor provincial capital, was reported on Syrian media on Saturday. The airstrike reportedly killed at least 12 civilians, most of them women and children, and caused significant damage to local properties and residents’ homes.
A video, purportedly showing the aftermath of the incident, has been posted online. It shows destroyed and badly damaged buildings, as well as the bodies of women and children. RT was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the footage.
When reached for comment by RT, the US-led coalition stated that the airstrike did take place, but it targeted a terrorist unit in the area.
“Coalition military forces conducted one strike near Mayadin, Syria that engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS watercraft,” a coalition spokesperson told RT in an emailed statement.
While the coalition was not aware of any civilian casualties, it promised to launch an investigation into the allegations, as it “takes all reports of civilian casualties very seriously and assesses all incidents as thoroughly as possible.”
“We will provide this information to our civilian casualty team for further assessment,” the coalition said.
The circumstances around the strike and its apparent inaccuracy are quite familiar, the director of Gnosos think tank Ammar Waqqaf said, as they indicate a glaring lack of intelligence on part of the US-led coalition.
“Since the start of the operations in Mosul we, I think, have lost count on how many times the United States wanted to hit an ISIS target and then suddenly there’s a huge massacre taking place,” Waqqaf told RT.
“The better intelligence will prevent, or should prevent casualties. It tells you that they have less people on the ground, or, probably less and less people on the ground who are willing to cooperate with them.”
“Such inaccurate strikes, apart from inflicting heavy casualties on civilians, also hamper the US efforts to slice a part of Syria for the Kurdish forces it backs,” Waqqaf added.
“And this is really hurting and reflecting efforts of the United States to establish its own project, sort of own ‘regime’ in eastern part of Syria,” Waqqaf said.
“The issue is that the Americans are increasingly being perceived by the locals as a threat, rather than a liberator… Who inherits ISIS in the Eastern Syria now seems to be the game, and America seems to be losing.”