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On the outskirts of the village of Al Hud, members of the Iraqi Army visit the area where locals say Islamic State executed four or five Peshmerga in recent months. Another grave containing many more people was in the area but too dangerous to visit due to mines.

On the outskirts of the village of Al Hud, members of the Iraqi Army visit the area where locals say Islamic State executed four or five Peshmerga in recent months. Another grave containing many more people was in the area but too dangerous to visit due to mines. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times/TNS)

WASHINGTON — As many as 64 civilians have been killed in the last 12 months in airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command announced Wednesday.

The civilian deaths and eight noncombatant injuries occurred in 24 strikes that were each independently investigated and deemed lawful, said Air Force Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for Central Command. Thirteen of the strikes occurred in Iraq and 11 in Syria.

Thomas said avoiding civilian casualties is a “key tenant” of the Operation Inherent Resolve campaign, and he emphasized the coalition believes it’s possible that less than 64 noncombatants were killed in the strikes.

“We have teams who work full time to prevent unintended civilian casualties,” he said. “… Sometimes civilians bear the brunt of military action, but we do all we can to minimize those occurrences even at the cost of sometimes missing the chance to strike valid targets in real time.”

Thomas said the military takes all reports of civilian casualties seriously. He said coalition investigations used internal records alongside reports from news outlets, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government department and agencies.

Some outside organizations, including Amnesty International, have accused the U.S. military of inadequate investigations into reports of civilian deaths. In October, Amnesty International accused Operation Inherent Resolve airstrikes in Syria alone of killing more than 300 civilian between September 2014 and June 2016.

Pentagon and Central Command officials have disputed those numbers and touted the military’s commitment to transparency when it is accused of killing civilians.

Here are the airstrikes that Central Command said likely killed civilians since November 2015:

Nov. 20, 2015, near Dayr-az-Zawr in Syria, against a tactical unit. Five civilians killed and three injured. March 5, near Mosul in Iraq, against a weapons production facility. Ten civilians killed. March 24, near Qayara in Iraq, against an unspecified militant target. One civilian killed. April 1, near Raqqa in Syria, against a tactical unit. Three civilians killed. April 9, near Mosul, against a tactical unit. One civilian killed. April 30, near Mosul, against Islamic State group military leadership. Five civilians killed. May 25, near Mosul, against a tactical unit. One civilian killed. May 26, near Mosul, against enemy fighters. One civilian killed. May 29, near Mosul, against a weapons system. Six civilians killed. June 15, near Kisik in Iraq, against a weapons storage facility. Six civilians killed. June 15, near Mosul, against unspecified targets. Two civilians injured. June 21, near Raqqa, against a headquarters building. Three civilians killed. June 23, near Raqqa, against a militant-held building. Four civilians killed. June 26, near Mosul, against an unspecified enemy target. One individual injured. June 26, near Mosul, against an unspecified enemy target. One individual injured. July 3, near Manbij in Syria, against a fighting position. Four civilians killed. July 10, near Manbij, against an unspecified enemy target. Two civilians killed. July 14, near Qayara, during a strike on an enemy-held building. One civilian killed. July 31, near Manbij, against enemy fighters. One civilian injured. Aug. 17, near Raqqa, against an enemy target. Two civilians killed. Aug. 20, near Manbij, against an artillery firing position. One civilian killed. Aug. 31, near Ramadi in Iraq, against an unspecified enemy target. Two civilians killed. Sept. 7, near Dayr-az-Zawr, against an oil collection point. One civilian killed. Sept. 10, near Raqqa, against an unspecified enemy target. Five civilians killed.dickstein.corey@stripes.com Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

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Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.
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