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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

US: Air strikes killing dozens of Syrian troops legal

An investigation has found air strikes by the US-led coalition that reportedly killed dozens of troops fighting for the Syrian government did not violate international law, the US military said.

The targets of the strikes near the Syrian city of Deir Az Zor were misidentified as ISIL fighters on September 17, but they turned out to be loyalists of the Syrian army, the US Air Forces Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Although air strikes likely hit forces aligned with the government of Syria, the strikes were conducted under a good faith belief that the strikes were targeting Daesh, in accordance with the law of armed conflict and the applicable rules of engagement," it said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It added that evidence showed there wasn't "a deliberate disregard of targeting procedures or the rules of engagement".

Russia said 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and at least 100 more wounded. The attack was the first known direct strike by the US-led coalition on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Brigadier General Richard Coe, the investigating officer, said a number of "human factors" contributed to the misidentification.
 [aljazeera.com]
29/11/16

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