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Coalition Operations against Daesh

Volume 617: debated on Tuesday 29 November 2016

The coalition has today published its findings from an incident report into the coalition air strikes in Dayr Az Zawr on 17 September 2016.

While the report has concluded that the decision to identify the targets as Daesh military objectives was both reasonable and supported by the weight of information available at the time, post-strike analysis indicates it more likely than not that a Syrian regime aligned force was struck after being mistaken for Daesh.

The Ministry of Defence will always carefully examine any credible evidence that suggests we have struck a target in error. We have contributed fully to the coalition’s investigation into this incident.

The UK armed forces operate under strict rules of engagement, which govern the use of force, and we take all reasonable steps to avoid non-combatant casualties. All strikes conducted by the RAF are carried out in accordance with robust rules of engagement, UK interpretation of the law of armed conflict and rigorous targeting processes and are approved through a strict assessment process undertaken by a team including British military, policy and legal advisers.

Both the coalition and the UK are reviewing the report’s conclusions and we will act on any lessons identified in order to mitigate the risks of such an error recurring.