A report in the “New York Times” raises doubts about an operation by the US military in Syria. Dozens of civilians could have been killed, but the incident was never resolved.
According to the New York Times, the American military apparently covered up several air strikes in Syria in 2019, in which many civilians were killed. According to this, up to 64 women and children in the fight against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) were killed in the attacks.
Two consecutive air strikes near the city of Baghuz were ordered by a secret American special unit responsible for ground operations in Syria, according to the report. According to the newspaper, the US Central Command, which oversees US air operations in Syria, confirmed the attacks for the first time this week and called them justified.
A statement said the attacks were legitimate self-defense and reasonable steps were taken to ensure the presence of civilians was excluded. “We detest the loss of innocent lives and are taking all possible measures to prevent it. In this case, we reported the attack ourselves and investigated according to our own knowledge, and we take full responsibility for the accidental loss of life,” said the central command .
The military confirmed to the “New York Times” that 80 people were killed in the attacks, including 16 IS fighters and four civilians. According to the central command, it was unclear whether the other 60 people were civilians, also because women and children could also have been fighters.
The Inspector General of the Defense Ministry opened an investigation into the incident on March 18, 2019, but did not mention the attacks in his report. A thorough, independent investigation never took place, according to the “New York Times”. The US medium said the article about the incident was based on confidential documents and descriptions of classified reports as well as interviews with directly involved employees.