The Guardian reports: The US military has opened a formal investigation into a 19 July airstrike in northern Syria that local and outside observers consider the deadliest coalition attack on civilians in its two-year war against the Islamic State militant group.
The strike, in the village of Tokkhar, took place during a grueling battle for Manbij, a strategically critical Syrian city, that is now in its third month.
Army Col Christopher Garver, chief spokesman for the Baghdad-based US military command, said on Wednesday that the allegations surrounding the fateful strike are “credible enough” to warrant a formal investigation. Word of the investigation comes approximately a week before an internal deadline to launch an inquiry.
The civilian casualty death toll from the strike, remains under dispute.
The UK-based monitoring group Airwars has concluded that at least 74 civilians – now that a 14-year old girl has died of her wounds – have died, but Chris Woods, the group’s lead researcher, said the total could be as many as 203.
In contrast, Garver, the US military spokesman, said he had seen figures suggesting 10-15 civilians died in the attack. [Continue reading…]