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Misdirected Airstrike Hits Allied Forces in Syria

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By Kody Fairfield

The U.S. military says a misdirected airstrike this week killed 18 allied fighters battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria, according to the Associated Press (AP).

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

The strike hit an SDF position instead, killing 18 fighters. The AP reportes that Central Command indicated that the incident occurred on Tuesday.

The SDF, with the help of air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition, has surrounded Tabqa, according to the AP.

“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,” a statement from Central Command said, according to the Independent.

“The Coalition is assessing the cause of the incident and will implement appropriate safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The incident is the latest in several recent US-led strikes against Isis and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq which have accidentally hit allied or civilian targets, explains the Independent.

It is not yet clear which air force of the several nations which lend air power to defeating Isis was behind the strike, both reports have said.

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