The United States Central Command released a statement admitting that they hit Syrian Army positions, but claim that they did not intend to target Syrian servicemen in violation of the ceasefire agreement, but were instead targeting Daesh terrorists.
US military officials acknowledge responsibility for the bombing attack against Syrian Army positions that paved the way for a major Daesh offensive against Assad government forces and that killed 62 Syrian service personnel, but claimed that the attack was an accident with the intended target being Daesh terrorists.
The attack was conducted by two F-16 fighter jets and two A10 ground attack aircraft that came into Syrian airspace through the Iraqi border without authorization from the Assad government.
The Russian Ministry of Defense immediately blasted the United States for the lethal attack observing that Daesh engaged in a major offensive after American forces crippled the Assad regime’s position. “If this airstrike was carried out due to an error in the coordinates of the targetm it is a direct consequence of US side’s unwillingless to coordinate its actions against terrorist groups with Russia,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman emphasized.
The attack came amid a ceasefire in Syria agreed upon by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry one week earlier and that came into effect on September 12. The attack threatens to undermine the delicate ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government concerned that it will provide Daesh terrorists an opportunity to regroup and that the rebels will not hold to the arrangement. Nonetheless, the attack also highlights the importance of the ceasefire deal and the need for the United States and Russia to coordinate on intelligence.
In the statement, Central Command says that “Coalition forces believed they were striking a Da’esh fighting position that they had been tracking for a significant amount of time before the strike. The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition forces were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.”
The statement, provided in full below, goes on to imply that Russia is somehow to blame for the egregious accident that killed the 80 Syrian soldiers because the US claims that it “had earlier informed Russian counterparts of the upcoming strike.”
Centcom. sounds like it was a mistake pic.twitter.com/ClQRaPtrNb
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) September 17, 2016