The United States failed to take necessary safety measures to avoid civilian casualties in a strike that killed at least 38 people in a mosque in Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Tuesday.
In a report entitled ‘Attack on the Omar Ibn al-Khatab Mosque: US Authorities’ Failure to Take Adequate Precautions,’ Human Rights Watch said the US failed to establish the targeted site was a mosque that was hosting worshippers for evening prayers at the time of the attack on March 16.
US officials previously said the strike targeted al-Qaeda gathering, killing dozens of militants, however HRW confirmed it had “not found evidence to support the allegation that members of al-Qaeda or any other armed group were meeting in the mosque.”
“The US seems to have gotten several things fundamentally wrong in this attack, and dozens of civilians paid the price,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.
“The US authorities need to figure out what went wrong, start doing their homework before they launch attacks, and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” HRW warned.
Meanwhile, opposition activists and monitors said suspected airstrikes by coalition warplanes waging war in Syria killed more civilians across the country on Monday and Tuesday, adding to the civilian body count from US and Russian strikes.
An airstrike likely carried out by the US-led coalition on an eastern Syrian town held by the Islamic State group has killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens, opposition activists and monitors said on Tuesday.
The US intervened in Syria to fight the Islamic State group in 2014 while Russia intervened in late 2015 to shore up the regime of its ally Bashar al-Assad, mainly targeting rebel groups.
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