Nobody will be held responsible for what was likely a war crime
Posted BY: Kelen McBreen
The Pentagon on Thursday released a declassified summary of an investigation into the 2019 bombing of 60 Syrian civilians.
Breaking News: The Pentagon found that the military’s initial review of the deadly 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria was mishandled at multiple levels of command and replete with reporting delays and information gaps. https://t.co/Lt2Whx8Dj5— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 17, 2022
The internal investigation into the March 2019 US airstrike in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor concluded the US commander who authorized the strike was “not aware” civilians were within the blast radius.
Ultimately, the US military ruled the killings were “not a violation of the military’s rules of engagement.”
A 2021 report by the New York Timesdetailed the moment “an American F-15E attack jet” flew over a group of women and children and “dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd.”
Following the first strike, two more 2,000-pound bombs were dropped on the site to eliminate any possible survivors.
The US military claimed the triple bombing was “necessary” in order to defeat 16 armed ISIS fighters in the area of the women and children.
Now, after the military investigated the incident, the Pentagon stated, “We’re admitting that, yes, we killed some innocent civilians, women and children, in 2019 in Baghuz, Syria. It’s all out there for you to see. We’re admitting that we made those mistakes. That our operations ended up in the killing of innocent people.”
Immediately after the bombings, internal military chat logs show officials at the US military’s Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar were concerned about what they witnessed, writing, “We just dropped on 50 women and children.”
The NYT reported the group behind the attack was top-secret American strike cell Talon Anvil, which operated between 2014 and 2019.
Individuals who worked in the secretive cell allegedly told the Times they often “circumvented rules imposed to protect noncombatants, and alarmed its partners in the military and the C.I.A. by killing people who had no role in the conflict: farmers trying to harvest, children in the street, families fleeing fighting, and villagers sheltering in buildings.”
The US military supposedly used the group, which had a loose interpretation regarding the rules of engagement, to launch 112,000 bombs and missiles against the Islamic State.
Responding to the Pentagon’s announcement that they “found no wrongdoing” during their investigation, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) criticized the lack of accountability, writing, “We can’t continue accepting civilian death & harm as a cost of war.”
The 2019 US airstrike in Syria is among the most devastating instance of civilian harm. We need accountability & transparency—and that's why I called for an investigation into this strike. We can't continue accepting civilian death & harm as a cost of war.https://t.co/anxBZ9Psc1— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 18, 2022