- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

The Pentagon admitted Friday that 20 civilians had been killed as a result of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State terror group, a figure that is double the number of civilian casualties Washington had initially claimed.

The new casualty count came as a result of several inquiries conducted by U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, into a slate of American airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, according to recent news reports.

Along with the 20 dead, 11 civilians have been wounded in six U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and three in Syria carried out between September 2015 and February 2016, CBS News reported.

“There is no such thing as an intentional civilian casualty,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Pat Ryder said, according to The Associated Press. “We are attempting to avoid civilian casualties, but in these cases, unfortunately, we assess that it was likely that civilians had died.”

“In this type of armed conflict, particularly with an enemy who hides among the civilian population, there are going to be, unfortunately, civilian casualties at times,” he added.

Over 40 civilians have been killed since U.S. drones and warplanes began airstrikes against Islamic State positions two years ago.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday that over 200 U.S. troops backed by additional American air power and a shipment of heavy weapons would be heading to Iraq.

The 217 U.S. special operations troops and military trainers accompanied by Army Apache attack helicopters and long-range rocket systems will be tasked with assisting the Iraqi Army’s offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State control.

Iraqi forces, with direct support American warplanes and a number of U.S.-manned “firebases,” have laid siege to areas in and around the city in preparation for the final push into the city.

However, that offensive has bogged down over the last several weeks, prompting the White House to send additional U.S. support.

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