US military says misdirected airstrike in northern Syria killed 18 allied fighters – Los Angeles Times

The U.S. military says a misdirected airstrike this week killed 18 friendly fighters battling Islamic State alongside the international coalition in northern Syria.

U.S. Central Command said Thursday that coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces for a strike intended to target militants south of their stronghold in Tabqa.

“The coalition’s deepest condolences go out to the members of the SDF and their families. The coalition is in close contact with our SDF partners who have expressed a strong desire to remain focused on the fight against ISIS despite this tragic incident,” Central Command said in a statement. “The coalition is assessing the cause of the incident and will implement appropriate safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The Kurdish fighters, with air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition, had surrounded Tabqa, which is on a dammed section of the Euphrates River just west of Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria. But the strike on Tuesday hit their position, killing 18 of them. Several nations have contributed air power to the coalition, and it was not immediately clear which was behind the strike.

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