Civilians in Syria's Idlib hit by US missile: Video
A US missile strike in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib was documented by video on 3 December by a family who was unwittingly caught up in the strike, with at least one child suffering critical injuries.
The video, first aired by Syria TV, reportedly showed a family singing along to a song on the radio when a motorbike passes them. Moments later, the car is overturned and children can be heard screaming for their parents as the family got out of the car.
The family of five escaped alive, but one of the sons, Mahmoud, who is 15-years old, is remained in intensive care.
The other family members also sustained injuries, with the father Ahmad wearing a cast on his hand, and the mother, Fatima, bearing stitches on her cheek.
US Central Command (CENTCOM) acknowledged that the 3 December strike might have killed civilians, and said that CENTCOM has launched an investigation into the matter.
The strike was targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader in northwest Syria, CENTCOM said. Local media reported that the motorbike shown in the Syria TV video was a leader in Hurass al-Din (HaD), an al-Qaeda affiliate active in northwest Syria.
The US periodically launched airstrikes in northwest Syria since 2019, mainly aimed at HaD, with the latest strike occurring in September.
HaD is distinguished from other jihadist groups in Idlib by maintaining a link with al-Qaeda and challenging the rule of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the controlling jihadist group in the area which broke from al-Qaeda around 2016.
A CENTCOM spokesperson said on 3 December that the organisation "abhors the loss of innocent life and take all possible measures to prevent them", and that the possibility of civilian casualties was "immediately self-reported".
The report comes on the back of a raft of bad press for the Pentagon, which has been blamed for a strike an August strike in Afghanistan which killed 10 civilians, seven of whom were children. Though the US Air Force Inspector General acknowledged errors in the strike, he said he found "no violation of law".
In November CENTCOM acknowledged that a strike carried out in the last IS holdout in Baghouz, Syria in March 2019 killed multiple civilians, following an investigation by the New York Times.
According to war monitor Airwars, the US-led coalition in Syria has carried out 19,904 air strikes in Syria during the seven years it has been active in Syria. Most of the airstrikes were carried out in the campaign to push IS out of northeastern Syria.
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights in September 2020, 3,039 civilians have been killed by the US-coalition in Syria. The Coalition acknowledged just 1,410 civilians killed in the same time period, though this casualty count includes both Iraq and Syria.