Pentagon: US watched armed group in Syria for 2 days before airstrike

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Source: Stars and Stripes

The U.S. military watched an armed group in eastern Syria for at least two days before launching an airstrike on Saturday that was halted after Russia reported the attack hit Syrian regime forces, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Tuesday.

The Pentagon has launched a formal investigation into the incident to determine who was attacked near Deir al-Zour, Air Force Col. John Thomas told reporters at the Pentagon.

“We did take a couple of days to look at it, to develop the target, and then the decision was made … that it was a good target after looking at all the intelligence and considering that,” Thomas said. “The decision was not made on the spur of the moment.”

It was not immediately clear Tuesday how long the investigation would take. Thomas said lessons learned from the investigation would be added to the coalition’s future planning and operations.

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the strike for killing 62 Syrians.

Thomas said coalition aircraft, including American jets, hit the target with “a good number of strikes” for about 30 to 50 minutes before the Russian military informed the coalition that it was bombing Syrian military. The assault was immediately called off after the call from the Russians, Thomas said.

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