Posted: Nov 14, 2021 05:45 GMT
The bombings took place near the border with Iraq and were ordered by a special operations unit called Task Force 9, according to the New York newspaper investigation.
The Pentagon would have concealed two airstrikes that killed up to 64 women and children in Syria, according to an investigation by The New York Times newspaper, published this Saturday, based on confidential documents, descriptions of classified reports and interviews with the military involved in the facts.
The operation took place on March 18, 2019 near the city of Baguz, on the border with Iraq, and was ordered by a special operations unit deployed on the ground called Task Force 9, according to the newspaper.
The day after the bombing, civilian observers found “lots of dead women and children“says the newspaper, adding that satellite images taken four days later showed that the area and the surrounding area had been rammed.
David Eubank, a former US Special Forces soldier, who was in the area a week after the massacre, told the outlet: “There was a lot of freshly removed dirt and the stench of corpses below, of many corpses.
The Pentagon takes over the bombing
For its part, the US Central Command recognized the double air attack for the first time, claiming the right to “legitimate self-defense“and they stated that the operation caused a total of 80 dead, of which 16 were Islamic State fighters and another four, civilians.
As for the other 60 deceased, they pointed out that they could not determine the number of civilians, since the women and children of the Islamic State sometimes took up arms and in the group “multiple armed women and at least one armed child were observed” .
Attempts to investigate a possible war crime
After what happened, the independent inspector general of the Department of Defense launched an investigation, but his report was “stripped off“of any mention of the bombings, indicates the newspaper.
Meanwhile, an Air Force lawyer who witnessed the operation, Colonel Dean Korsak, considered that it could be a “war crime” and asked his superiors to investigate what happened. When there was no response, he forwarded his request to the Pentagon’s independent inspector general, also without success.
Korsak then decided to address the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming to have secret materials about the bombings. “Senior US military officials deliberately and systematically circumvented the process of deliberate attack,” he wrote in an email accessed by the New York Times.
“I am exposing myself to a great risk of military retaliation for sending this,” he added in the message, noting that there was a good chance that “the highest levels of government were still unaware of what was happening on the ground.”