"It sure looks like they were", he said. But the civilian deaths can not be attributed to any loosening of American military rules of combat, he said, and Washington hasn't chose to tolerate greater risk of civilian casualties in USA airstrikes. He said that while there have been some "minor adjustments" to the rules of engagement, the changes did not effect the March 17 strike.
Townsend pointed out that the buildings in question were completely leveled, but he noted that the types of bombs used in the airstrikes in the general area would not have leveled the building.
More than 200,000 civilians have fled west Mosul since the battle for the area began, according to Iraqi authorities.
On March 26, the United States had confirmed that a coalition strike led by them in Iraq had killed more than 200 civilians in Mosul on March 17 and 23.
The retired general gives emphasis to the Iraqi military and police forces' effort to take back Mosul from Islamic State.
Townsend said the coalition has expected the fight for Western Mosul to be brutal, with more ISIS sympathizers amid the populous, tighter fighting conditions in the densely populated area and greater ISIS defenses dug in. A USA airstrike in Syria's Aleppo province on March 16 is under investigation amid allegations that it killed scores of civilians gathered in a mosque; the Pentagon described the target as an al-Qaeda gathering. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, regularly uses women and children as "human shields" to avoid being targeted by the coalition.
Another report of at least 30 civilian deaths in an airstrike that hit a school north of Raqqa in Syria last week is likely "not credible", Townsend said.
Townsend would not go into specifics about why the U.S.
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused the USA -led coalition in Iraq of conducting airstrikes in areas of Mosul where it should have known civilian families were trying to keep safe in their homes.
Evidence gathered on the ground in Mosul "points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside", the report stated.
The top United States commander overseeing the anti-ISIS operation said Tuesday that the U.S.
He and others have said that the munitions used by the US that day should not have taken the entire building down, suggesting that militants may have deliberately gathered civilians there and planted other explosives. Now, here's what I don't know: What I don't know is were they, (the civilians), gathered there by the enemy?
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Rupert Colville from the UN's human rights office said the agency has tallied the deaths of at least 307 people between 17 February and 22 March, including 140 from the 17 March air strike.
Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said the USA has sent experts to the scene of the airstrike in west Mosul to investigate allegations of civilian casualties.
Townsend also speculated that ISIS snipers, who were posted on the targeted building, had gathered civilians there on objective.
Iraqi army soldiers took over Mosul's airport, providing them a gateway to the western part of the city. All U.S. airstrikes were carried out in support of the Iraqi Security Force advance on the city of Mosul against ISIS.