The Obama Administration has loosened its restriction against civilian causalities when using airstrikes. The policy was changed specifically in terms of the administration’s policy on drone strikes in operations in both Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The change is policy comes amid increasing criticism of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, according to Yahoo News, following a report of a Tomahawk missile killing a dozen civilians in the town of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province last week. The town is believed to be a stronghold of anti-American activities and occupied by al-Qaida and sympathizers who were planning attacks on several international aircraft.
Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council told Yahoo News, however, that while they will investigate the deaths, the “near certainty” phrase used by the administration “does not apply in Iraq or Syria.” Hayden concluded that the laws of armed conflict were being followed in their mission against ISIS.
A video has surfaced of Syrians digging through rubble, possibly looking for survivors of a bombed building. A Central U.S. Command spokesman said that while they knew of the explosion, they cannot corroborate the deaths.
The use of drones and the resulting civilian causalities has caused contentious debates in the House and Senate as well as within the president’s own cabinet. The new policy is a change from the past, when the president himself would sign off on the drone strikes.