The US department of defence will initiate an investigation to verify 'credible' allegations that the airstrikes by the US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria has killed several civilians.
Contradicting its earlier stance, Pentagon has finally acknowledged that airstrikes in Syria and Iraq may have had civilian causalities as well. "What I know is that CENTCOM, Central Command, is investigating several, what they believe to be credible allegations of possible civilian casualties," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Tuesday at a press briefing.
"They are actively investigating what they believe to be at least a few incidents of civilian causalities that warrant further investigation, that they have found credible to investigate."
Reports have emerged that Pentagon has verified at least two instances where civilians were killed in airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
CENTCOM officials told The New York Times that the military investigated 18 allegations and found 13 of them lacking credibility. However, without giving out the details, the official suggested that in at least two instances -- one in Iraq and another in Syria -- civilians may have been killed.
The announcement by the US government comes just days after a report by organisations monitoring the war in the region stated that over 33,000 civilian were killed in 2014, caught between US-coalition airstrikes and the ISIS.
The first incident of civilian causality was reported in September 2014, when two civilian workers were killed when US airstrike mistook the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base and launched missiles on the targets.
Soon, another report emerged in November that alleged that the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Syria has killed 865 people since the start of the airstrikes late September, out of which at least 50 were civilians.
The US-led coalition has carried out nearly 1,400 airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria since the aerial offensive began last August.