The three folks conversant in the findings, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate particulars of the confidential report, mentioned that 56 folks had been killed, however that 52 of them have been enemy fighters, though that evaluation categorized all grownup males within the strike as fighters, whether or not they have been armed or not. The officers additionally mentioned 17 folks had been injured, 15 of whom have been civilians.

The Baghuz assault was a part of a sequence of investigations by The Occasions final 12 months into airstrikes that killed civilians, together with a botched drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 harmless folks in August. One other Occasions investigation primarily based on a trove of Pentagon reviews of strikes revealed systemic failures to forestall civilian deaths in america’ air struggle in opposition to the Islamic State.

Final week, the sequence was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for worldwide reporting. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, acknowledged that the reporting was “not snug, not straightforward and never easy to deal with.”

In response to The Times’s investigation, Mr. Austin ordered a standardized reporting course of on civilian hurt, the creation of a navy “heart of excellence” and the completion of a complete new coverage on the problem that has been within the works for greater than two years. That coverage evaluate continues to be underway, with particulars of the preliminary plan anticipated by the top of June, Pentagon officers mentioned.

“Defending harmless civilians is prime to our operational success and is a strategic and ethical crucial,” Mr. Austin mentioned in his memo on Tuesday.

The Baghuz strike occurred within the final days of the offensive to clear Islamic State fighters from their self-proclaimed caliphate, which had as soon as sprawled throughout areas of Syria and Iraq. American F-15 assault jets made repeated bombing runs on a riverbank the place scores of ladies, youngsters and wounded folks had taken shelter.

Air Pressure personnel at a headquarters in Qatar who have been watching drone footage taken from excessive above the location instantly reported the strike, saying that about 70 civilians might have been killed, and notified leaders {that a} formal investigation was required.