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'Misdirected' US Airstrike in Syria Kills 18 Coalition Forces

This frame grab from a video provided by the Syria Democratic Forces shows SDF fighters opening fire on an Islamic State group's position near Raqqa on March 6, 2017. Syria Democratic Forces via AP
This frame grab from a video provided by the Syria Democratic Forces shows SDF fighters opening fire on an Islamic State group's position near Raqqa on March 6, 2017. Syria Democratic Forces via AP

A "misdirected" U.S. airstrike this week in Syria killed 18 coalition forces, American military officials said Thursday.

The strike on Tuesday in Tabqah in the central part of the country was supposed to target militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, but instead hit Syrian Democratic Forces, according to a statement from Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and shared by U.S. Central Command.

"The strike was requested by the partnered forces, who had identified the target location as an ISIS fighting position," the release states. "The target location was actually a forward Syrian Democratic Forces fighting position."

The U.S. military expressed "deepest condolences" to the SDF members' families.

"The coalition is in close contact with our SDF partners who have expressed a strong desire to remain focused on the fight against ISIS despite this tragic incident," the release states, and is "assessing the cause of the incident and will implement appropriate safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future."

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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