Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:33PM
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a press conference at the conclusion of a meeting of defense ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, July 20, 2016. (photos by AFP)
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a press conference at the conclusion of a meeting of defense ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, July 20, 2016. (photos by AFP)

The US-led coalition will investigate civilian casualties caused by an air strike near Manbij, in northern Syria, says Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

He made the remarks at a meeting with his counterparts from the coalition to allegedly target Daesh in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday.

The so-called Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Daesh) was held at Joint Base Andrews in the US state of Maryland.

“I want to say that we're aware of reports of civilian casualties that may be related to recent coalition air strikes near Manbij city in Syria, which is one of the last junctions connecting Raqqa to the outside world. We will investigate these reports and continue to do all we can to protect civilians from harm. Being scrupulously careful to avoid civilian casualties and being transparent about this issue is a reflection of the civilized nature of this coalition," he claimed.

Speaking of civilian casualties, Carter did not comment about a footage, which circulated on social media on Tuesday, showing a member of the Nureddin al-Zenki opposition militant group, which is supported by the US, cutting off a small boy's head with a knife on a public road in Aleppo's opposition-controlled al-Mashhad neighborhood.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (C), alongside defense ministers and advisers, pose for a family photo during a meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, July 20, 2016.

20 terrorists plotting external attacks killed

Carter added that the coalition has "momentum in this fight and we have clear results on the ground. And today we will make the plans and commitments that will help us deliver ISIL a lasting defeat," stating further that 20 of Daesh operatives plotting to carry out external attacks had been killed.

"We've also been pressuring ISIL by systematically eliminating their key leaders and their financial base. In addition to taking out key ISIL ministers and capturing one of the principals of ISIL's chemical warfare enterprise,” said the US defense chief.

At the meeting, Carter said, the members “reviewed and agreed on the next plays” in the alleged fight on ISIL, which will not yet be discussed publicly.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and US General Joseph Votel (R), Commander of US Central Command, host defense ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, July 20, 2016.

“But let me be clear: they culminate in the collapse of ISIL's control over the cities of Mosul and Raqqah."

Other members of the so-called coalition also “indicated their intent, like the United States, to contribute more," Carter claimed.

Shift in momentum

At a meeting, dubbed the Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq, in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, more than $2.1 billion was supposedly raised for Iraq, according to US State Department spokesman John Kirby.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also addressed the conference, where he spoke of a “new challenge” in the campaign.

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq at the State Department in Washington, DC, on July 20, 2016. 

"The momentum has shifted," Kerry said. "The new challenge that we face is securing and aiding for the recovery of a liberated area."

The ISIL Takfiris were among militants trained by the CIA in Jordan to bring down the Syrian government.

Apart from the US, some other members of the so-called coalition have been implicated for support for the terrorists, wreaking havoc in Syria, and its Muslim neighbor, Iraq.

The air raids in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq, which started in August last year. Many have criticized the ineffectiveness of the raids.