Aug. 20 (UPI) — Maj. Gen. John Brennan, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, condemned a drone stroke this week that killed four teen girls and injured several others who were playing volleyball.
Brennan said in a statement Friday that the girls who were killed were active in a United Nations educational outreach program in Hasakah.
“I condemn this attack and any others that kill and injure civilians. Such acts are contrary to the laws of armed conflict, which require the protection of civilians. We extend our condolences to the families of those killed and sympathies to those injured,” Brennan said.
“The increase in military hostilities in northern Syria is creating chaos in a fragile region where the threat of [the Islamic State] remains present. We call for immediate de-escalation from all parties and an end to activities that put at risk the significant battlefield gains the Coalition has made against ISIS.”
Brennan did not name which party conducted the Thursday drone strike but officials with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria on Saturday alleged the teens were killed by a “Turkish occupation aircraft targeting an educational center for girls.”
The strike happened in the village of Shammoka, about 1.2 miles from the base of the international coalition forces.
The AANES also revealed photographs of the teen girls, born between 2002 and 2004, who were identified as Rania Atta, Zozan Zeidan, Dylan Ezz El-Din and Diana Alo.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement that 11 other people were injured in the attack.
The Turkish government views the People’s Protection Units of the Syrian Democratic Forces as terrorist groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.