US concealed 2019 airstrike that killed 64 innocents in Syria, NYT says

12:31, 14 November 2021
US concealed 2019 airstrike that killed 64 innocents in Syria, NYT says Photo:

The US concealed massive airstrikes that killed approximately 64 innocents, including women and underage people in Syria during 2019 bombings towards the Islamic State, the New York Times revealed on Saturday.

The conducting of two airstrikes was ordered by the US Central Command that supervised air missions in Syria. It confirmed the attacks for the first time this week saying that the airstrikes were reasonable, according to the source.

On Saturday, Central Command issued a statement reiterating the data it shared with the newspaper confirming that during the operation against the Islamic State it killed 80 people claiming that 16 of them were Islamic fighters and four civilians. As far as 60 others are concerned it remains undiscovered whether they were civilians or they were armed women and children who might have posed a threat.

The statement also says that steps were taken to rule out the presence of civilians in the area of striking and the air hits were proportional and conducted within “legitimate self-defense.”

“We abhor the loss of innocent life and take all possible measures to prevent them. In this case, we self-reported and investigated the strike according to our own evidence and take full responsibility for the unintended loss of life,” Central Command said. 

It underlined the impossibility to know how many of the 60 were civilians as some of the women who might have seemed unharming at the first look carried guns and it added that also a child was seen armed with a gun.

The Defense Department’s inspector general started a probe into 2019 airstrikes, however, its report eventually didn’t mention any bombing and thorough investigation never happened, according to the New York Times.

If the fact that the airstrike resulted in civilian casualties will be proven right, the Central Command's actions will be considered a war crime.