Reports from the U.S. Central Command indicate that coalition aircraft were issued with the wrong coordinates by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces. The aircraft were supposed to strike intended IS militants south of their Tabqa stronghold which are located near the extremists' de facto capital of Raqqa.
Unfortunately, the airstrike hit an SDF position and claimed the lives of 18 people. The Central Command revealed that the strike was launched on Tuesday. The Central Command has not yet revealed which air force was behind the airstrike of the various nations that have lent their airpower to the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State group.
In response, the SDF acknowledged the strike saying that a number of its fighters were killed and wounded. Reports from Hawar News Agency indicated that the group was holding funerals for 17 of its fighters in the border town of Tal al-Abyad. However, it did not link them to the strike.
One of the activist-run group revealed that Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, adding that three days of mourning have been declared for the town. Other reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicated that 25 SDF fighters were killed in the last two days of battle. SDF also announced the launch of a fourth phase of their campaign to capture Raqqa.
U.S.-led air and ground support alongside the SDF have surrounded Tabqa which is some 40 kilometers southwest of Raqqa. The forces claim that they working to clear Islamic State militants out of Jalab Valley, north of Raqqa.
SDF intends to isolate Raqqa before unleashing an attack. However, their countryside south of Raqqa is still under IS control. The forces have also not indicated how many stages are planned for the campaign.
A separate incident has seen the international chemical weapons watchdog testing samples from a suspected nerve gas attack that killed at least 87 people in Syria last week. The organization could produce a report on the matter within three weeks.
This comes after Russia vetoed a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a speedy probe into the April 4 attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the veto left Moscow with a lot to prove.
In the meantime, a standing fact-finding mission is being conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks. However, the organization will not blame anyone for the incident.