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US investigating civilian deaths in Syria’s Atmeh

‘We are aware of civilian casualty reports surrounding Atmeh and are looking into them,’ Pentagon says

13.08.2015
US investigating civilian deaths in Syria’s Atmeh

WASHINGTON

 The U.S. said Friday that it is conducting a "credibility assessment" of reported civilian casualties following a coalition airstrike in northwest Syria.

Local civil defense teams in Syria reported Tuesday that dozens of residents, including women and children, had been killed overnight in U.S.-coalition airstrikes on the Syrian village of Atmeh. 

"There is currently a credibility assessment being conducted into the allegation," CENTCOM, the U.S. Middle East command, said in a statement to Anadolu Agency. "If the allegation is initially determined to be credible, we will then determine the next appropriate step. This could include a follow-on formal investigation."

The U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition confirmed to Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that it had conducted a "deliberate airstrike" in the vicinity of Aleppo, including Atmeh.

“We apply very rigorous standards in our targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties in the first place--to include analysis of available intelligence to selection of the appropriate weapons to meet mission requirements with the goal to minimize the risk of collateral damage and, in particular, potential harm to non-combatants,” Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said on Thursday.

An official from the Pentagon had told Anadolu Agency that the airstrikes had not targeted civilians.

"That is a very thorough process, they take great care in selecting their targets and not run the risk of inadvertently hitting civilians," the official said. "When there are credible allegations that we have done so errantly, they work to investigate those."

The State Department said Thursday  that they had seen the reports regarding the attack, adding the U.S. "remains deeply concerned by any potential civilian casualties," without giving further information on the attack."

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