U.S. Central Command released the results of several casualty assessments Thursday showing that at least 14 civilians were killed and one was injured in six separate U.S. airstrikes from July 28 last year through April in Iraq and Syria.
The results were in response to queries from reporters at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday at which it was announced that a formal fact-finding investigation based on "credible" evidence had begun into allegations that U.S. airstrikes on July 20 near the ISIS stronghold of Manbij in Syria killed numerous civilians.
"After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances for each allegation, the evidence indicates six separate U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria from July 28, 2015, to April 29, 2016, have unfortunately resulted in the death of 14 civilians and injuries to an additional civilian," the statement said. "We deeply regret the unintentional loss of life and injuries resulting from our airstrikes and express our sympathies to those affected.
"In each of the cases released today, the assessment determined that although all precautions were taken and the strikes complied with laws of armed conflict, civilian casualties unfortunately did occur," the statement said.
The command provided the following list, noting that the casualties recorded were based on assessments and using the acronym ISIL to refer to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS:
-- On July 28, 2015, near Idlib, Syria, during a strike on a senior Khorasan Group adviser, it is assessed that three civilians were killed and one vehicle destroyed when their vehicle appeared in the target area after the coalition aircraft released its weapon.
-- On February 15, 2016, near Al Qaim, Iraq, during a strike on an ISIL staging area, it is assessed that three civilians were killed.
-- On February 16, 2016, in Ar Rayhaniyah, Iraq, near Mosul, during a strike on an ISIL vehicle, it is assessed that one person was injured along the side of the road.
-- On April 5, 2016, in Mosul, Iraq, during a strike on an ISIL financial storage facility, it is assessed that three civilians were killed.
-- On April 26, 2016, in Sharqat, Iraq, near Qayyarah, during a strike on an ISIL checkpoint, it is assessed that one civilian was killed when a motorcycle unexpectedly appeared in the target area after the U.S. aircraft had already released its weapon.
-- On April 29, 2016, in Mosul, Iraq, during a strike targeting Neil Prakash, an ISIL external operations facilitator, it is assessed that four civilians were killed when the weapon struck three civilians on the road and one civilian located on an adjacent compound.
Later in the day, the command said it was assessing another strike Thursday near Manbij, Syria, which may have resulted in additional civilian casualties. "We can confirm the Coalition conducted airstrikes in the area in the last 24 hours," it stated. "As with every report of civilian casualties, we will review any information we have about the incident, including information provided by third parties, such as the proximity of the location to Coalition airstrikes, and any other relevant information presented," the statement continued. "If the information supporting the report is determined to be credible, we will then determine the next appropriate step. "We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict," it stated.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.