U.S.-led air strikes in Syria killed 10 civilians: monitor

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2014 7:02 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S-led forces which are bombing Islamic State militants in Syria killed ten civilians in two recent air strikes, a group monitoring the violence said on Saturday.

Washington said there was no evidence to back up the report and said U.S. forces use mitigation measures to reduce the potential for civilian casualties when it targets Islamic State.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven civilians were killed when an air strike hit a gas plant near the town of al-Khasham is the eastern Deir al-Zor province on Friday, and three civilians were killed in an air strike on Thursday night in the north east province of al-Hassakah.

Reuters cannot independently confirm the reports due to security restrictions.

"We have seen no evidence at this time to corroborate claims of civilian casualties. I can assure you that before any mission, every precaution is taken to ensure civilians are not harmed," U.S. Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder said.

"Regardless, we take reports of civilian casualties or damage to civilian facilities seriously and we have a process to investigate each allegation."

The coalition has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq since August and extended the campaign to Syria in September. Close to 200,000 people have been killed in Syria's three-year civil war, according to the United Nations.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes in Beirut and Phillip Stewart in Washington; Editing by Mark Potter)