US probes civilian casualties, touts Arab role in Syria strikes

AFP , Thursday 25 Sep 2014

The Pentagon said Thursday it will investigate reports that civilians were killed in US-led air strikes in Syria this week but insisted the raids were carried out with precision.

The US military said its bombing raids this week were carefully calibrated to avoid civilian casualties and touted the role of coalition partners from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the latest strikes carried out on Wednesday.

"We don't have credible operational reports" that civilians were killed in three days of air strikes, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

But "we are taking a look at that," Kirby said, describing the media reports and video as "allegations."

Recounting the details of Wednesday's round of strikes, Kirby said Saudi and UAE warplanes played the leading role in the attack, devoting more planes and dumping more bomb tonnage than American forces.

Ten warplanes from the two Arab states flew with six US aircraft in Wednesday's raids on oil refineries held by the IS group. And 80 percent of the bomb tonnage was delivered by the Saudi and UAE planes, Kirby said.

The strikes against 12 targets hit the majority of IS-held refineries but the extremist group still controlled several other refineries as well, he said.

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