Saturday, June 10, 2023

Review finds US troops did not violate law in Syria airstrike

A US military investigation found that US troops did not violate the law of war or intentionally cause civilian casualties in a 2019 airstrike in Syria that killed dozens, including women and children. It was found that the army committed procedural mistakes after the attack.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that no one, including a ground forces commander, was disciplined as a result of the strike, which was launched in support of Syrian Allied forces that were under heavy fire from the Islamic State group near the city of Baguz in the east. Syria.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who ordered a new review of the airstrike last November, said he was “disappointed” by the shortcomings in handling the initial review of the operation, which missed deadlines and reported to Congress and the public. Delay in doing. civilian casualties.

“This process contributed to a perception that the department was not committed to transparency and was not taking the incident seriously – a belief that could have been prevented with a timely review and clear explanation of the circumstances surrounding the strike,” Austin said in one. The memo was released on Tuesday.

The investigation comes amid new investigations on the US military for attacks that have caused innocent deaths. And it has prompted Austin to order the department to create a new “Civilian Damage Mitigation and Response Action Plan” to better prevent civilian deaths in military operations. He also ordered Army General Michael Garrett, who is currently the head of US Army Forces Command, to conduct an independent review of the Baghuz attack.

Late last year, another independent review concluded that the US drone strikes that killed innocent civilians and children in Kabul in the final days of the Afghanistan war were not due to misconduct or negligence. It broke down in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the bombing target.

The strike killed nine members of his family, including a longtime employee of an American humanitarian organization and seven children. The US has promised to pay financial damages to the family and potentially take them out of Afghanistan, but nothing has happened so far.

In Tuesday’s memo, Austin directed department leaders to meet deadlines in reporting civilian casualties, conduct a thorough review, and reinforce the importance of procedures to commanders of the entire force.

A preliminary investigation into the attack concluded that the attack constituted legitimate self-defense in support of Syrian fellow forces under fire from the Islamic State group. Garrett, in his investigation, agreed with that conclusion.

According to Garrett’s investigation, 52 enemy fighters were killed and two wounded, and four civilians were killed and 15 wounded. Among the civilians, one woman and three children were killed, and 11 women and four children were injured. One of the enemies killed was a child.

Asked why no one is being held personally responsible for civilian deaths, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Tuesday that Austin is holding the department accountable, and that’s why he ordered a change in procedure. gave.

“I understand questions about accountability, I understand,” Kirby told Pentagon reporters. “In this case, General Garrett found that the ground force commander made the best decisions, given the information he had at the time, to address a very lethal, very aggressive (Islamic State) threat in a very confined space. Looking at it. It is extremely regrettable… We apologize for the loss of innocent lives.”

Garrett said in an unclassified summary of his report that the ground force commander “did not cause civilian casualties due to willful or willful disobedience.” He said the decision to strike was necessary to protect the Syrian Democratic Forces and that “multiple attempts to isolate civilians” from Islamic State rebels had been made.

Garrett said, however, that information not available to the commander at the time suggests he relied on data “which was not entirely accurate.” But he added that the commander’s actions cannot be judged solely on the basis of information available from behind.

Garrett also said in his review that while he found problems with policy compliance, “I found no evidence to support the allegation that these loopholes were malicious or were made to conceal decisions or actions.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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