After the airstrike on a Syrian military facility, the White House noted that future strikes are “100 percent” on the table.
Days later, the Syrian army issued a statement that claimed the aircraft from an American-led coalition struck an ISIS chemical weapons supply in the region triggering the release of a “white cloud that became yellow as a result of the explosion of a huge store that includes a large amount of toxic materials.”
The Syrian army claims that strike killed “hundreds, including many civilians” on Wednesday – a report that U.S. officials call “misinformation.”
As CBS News reports, the claim appears “to be an effort to shore-up [Syria’s] debunked theory” that its government had nothing to do with the recent chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians, including children:
The Syrian Army General Command issued a statement … without any evidence of the purported mass-deaths in the ISIS-held Deir Ezzor region, claiming it as evidence, “that terrorist organizations and the forces supporting them are coordinating their efforts to find excuses and accuse the Syrian Arab army of using chemical weapons.”
The situation seems to have close ties to a dossier that the White House and National Security Council released on Tuesday, accusing “the Syrian regime and its primary backer, Russia,” of using misinformation and conflicting reports to “create confusion” in the Middle East.
To that extent, U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian — a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition working in the area — outright denied the Syrian army’s claims, saying:
“The Coalition conducted no strikes in that area at that time. The Syrian claim is incorrect and likely intentional misinformation.”
On Thursday morning, however, the Pentagon did release a statement announcing that, on Tuesday, a failed coalition airstrike took the lives of over a dozen allied soldiers:
— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) April 13, 2017
The statement, issued by the Combined Joint Task Force, notes that an airstrike led to the deaths of 18 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish fighters that have partnered with the U.S. to defeat ISIS.
Offering the coalition’s “deepest condolences … to the members of the SDF and their families,” the statement reads, in part:
The strike was requested by the partnered forces, who had identified the target location as an ISIS fighting position. The target location was actually a forward Syrian Democratic Forces fighting position.
While the multinational SDF is reportedly “dominated by Syria’s main Kurdish fighting force, the People’s Protection Unit,” it also includes Armenians, Arabs, Turkmen, and Assyrians.
The Pentagon noted that SDF forces “have expressed a strong desire to remain focused on the fight against ISIS despite this tragic incident.”