The U.S. military has uncovered two airstrikes in 2019 during a battle with Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria that killed 64 women and children and may have been a war crime, the New York Times reported Saturday.
The two airstrikes near the city of Baghuz were ordered by a US special operations team tasked with carrying out ground missions in Syria, according to the report.
According to the NYT, the US Central Command (USCENTCOM), the US Joint Chiefs of Staff for Syria, acknowledged just this week that the US Air Force had indeed carried out the bombings, but assured that they were justified. .
In a statement released yesterday, CENTCOM reiterated its report to the newspaper: among the 80 people killed, 16 were IK fighters and 4 were civilians. The Central Command added that it was not sure if the other 60 people who lost their lives were civilians or legitimate targets, in part because some women and some children were involved in the hostilities.
In the press release, the US military described the strikes as “legal defense”, proportionally, and assured that it had taken “appropriate measures to exclude the presence of civilians”.
“We despise the loss of innocent lives and take all possible measures to prevent them. In this case, there have been internal reports and an investigation into the attack based on our own data and we take full responsibility for the unintentional loss of civilian lives.” , CENTCOM added.
The number of civilians among the 60 victims is not determined because, according to the Central Administration, there were “several armed women and at least one armed child”.
According to the announcement, the bombings took place as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance, came under heavy fire, threatened to overflag and reported that there were no civilians in the area.
The inspector general conducted an internal investigation into the bombings of March 18, 2019, but his report finally “deleted” any reference to them and in fact never did a thorough and in-depth investigation into the case, according to the New York Times article. . The authors of the text relied in part on classified documents and in part on interviews with members of the armed forces involved in the operation.
A member of the Air Force Legal Service, which was at the operations center when the raids were launched, ruled that they were a war crime and later informed both the Department of Defense Inspector General and the Senate Committee on Armed Forces that no disciplinary or other action was taken, according to the Times.
Source From: Capital