US strike leaves 4 Syrian soldiers dead

Four Syrian soldiers were killed and 13 wounded when a bombing raid by the US-led coalition hit an army camp in the west of the country, a monitor said on Monday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an air raid “by the international coalition” hit the camp in the western Deir Ezzor province, “around two kilometers (1.2 miles) from an area controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.”

The Observatory said it was the first time that a strike from the US-led coalition, which has been bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria for more than a year, had killed Syrian regime forces.

“Regime forces have never previously been hit by raids from the international coalition, which was targeting jihadist bases and oil tankers in Deir Ezzor,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

It remains to be seen what sort of fallout the strike may bring, as Russian forces are currently in Syria to back up Bashar al-Assad’s autocratic regime.

This is far from the first time a US airstrike fell astray of its mark. Late last month the US military admitted it killed 30 civilians at a clinic in Afghanistan this October due to “human terror.”

An army gunship opened fire on the clinic, mistaking it for a government building being seized by the Taliban, and did not bother to check the coordinates – the clinic was on a no-strike list.

Reports last November showed that 96.5% of the casualties from US drone strikes in the Middle East were civilians. In October 2014, the White House declared that its policy banning drone strikes on civilians “does not apply” in its campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Those lighter standards for the US were shown again this May, when US strikes reportedly hit a village with no terrorists present in it, killing 52 Syrian civilians.

By contrast, despite fierce US condemnation of civilian casualties in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, research showed 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a nearly 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare.

The US State Department in October was left unable to explain the double standards.