Human error was the cause of the Sept. 17 airstrike that killed more than 60 Syrian troops near Dayr Az Zawr, U.S. Central Command officials said Tuesday.
After nearly three months of review, investigators determined U.S. and coalition forces mistakenly concluded the targets were affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, according to a statement from the command.
While the strike was based on a “reasonable interpretation” of available information and conducted without “deliberate disregard,” an American general acknowledged it was a mistake and likely hit forces aligned with the government of Syria.
“In this instance, we did not rise to the high standard we hold ourselves to, and we must do better than this each and every time,” Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said in the statement.
Harrigian has ordered changes to improve the targeting process, including better information sharing among analysts and more frequent use of a U.S.-Russia hotline designed to prevent accidents and miscommunication in the war zone.
During a phone call with reporters, Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, the investigating officer, said the day of the strike the Russians actually used the phone line to help stop the attack.
Read more of this story at Military.com.