18 Syrian Fighters Allied With U.S. Killed in Airstrike by American-led Coalition

Members of the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Tabqah, Syria, in March. (Delil Souleiman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

An airstrike by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the United States, the military said on Thursday.

The strike, on Tuesday in Tabqah, Syria, was the third time in a month that American-led airstrikes may have killed civilians or allies, and it comes even as the Pentagon is investigating two previous airstrikes that killed or wounded scores of civilians in a mosque complex in Syria and in a building in the west of Mosul, Iraq.

Tuesday’s strike was requested by coalition allies who were on the ground near Tabqah, the United States Central Command, which oversees combat operations in the Middle East, said in a statement. The fighters had called in the airstrikes and “identified the target location as an ISIS fighting position,” it said, using another name for the Islamic State.

The Central Command statement said that the target location turned out to be a “fighting position” for the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been fighting the Islamic State alongside the United States.

It was unclear whether the strike came from an American warplane or one from the other coalition partners.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Helen Cooper

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