US coalition strikes in Syria 'killed 250 civilians'

CENTCOM says it takes the allegations "seriously" after monitoring group details toll of anti-ISIl campaign so far.

    US coalition strikes in Syria 'killed 250 civilians'
    Millions of Syrians fled their country due to the conflict [Bulent Kilic/AFP]

    At least 3,952 people have been killed in the US-led coalition's campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria, according to a monitoring group.

    The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Monday the death toll included a total of 250 civilians.

    The air strikes occurred in the period between September 2014 and November 23, 2015, SOHR said.

    The US announced the formation of the coalition against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in September 2014 which then included 28 countries. It now includes 65 countries.

    Among those killed were 66 children below the age of eight, and 44 children below the age of 18.

    At least 3,547 ISIL fighters were killed in air strikes on Hama, Aleppo, Homs, Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir Az Zor.

    The air strikes also killed 136 al-Nusra Front fighters.

    CENTCOM response

    The US Combined Joint Task Force's Public Affairs desk told Al Jazeera the US Central Command (CENTCOM) takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and applies standards in its targeting process to avoid or to minimise civilian casualties.

    "We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and we apply very rigorous standards in our targeting process to avoid or to minimise civilian casualties in the first place," a CENTCOM media officer said.

    Civilians bear the brunt of Syria air strikes

    "We take great care - from analysis of available intelligence to selection of the appropriate weapon to meet mission requirements - in order to minimise the risk of collateral damage, particularly any potential harm to non-combatants.

    "One completed investigation into two allegations surrounding a November 5, 2014, air strike in Harim City, Syria was released May 21 and found, based on the preponderance of evidence, that two non-combatant children were likely killed from a US air strike.

    "We receive and review all allegations of civilian casualties no matter the source of the information," they said.

    When asked about ISIL casualties, CENTCOM said it does not release the number of ISIL fighters killed.

    "As of November 13, the coalition has damaged or destroyed 16,075 targets."

    The coalition is also involved in providing military support to their partners in Syria and Iraq, in addition to humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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