Trump Ordered Airstrike that Killed 70 Plus Syrian Women and Children…then had it ‘classified’

The US military never conducted an independent investigation into a 2019 bombing on the last bastion of the Islamic State, despite concerns about a secretive commando force

5
1421

First published on VT, 13 November 2021

VIA YouTube: In the final days of the war against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a US military drone began hunting military targets in high circles.

But he only saw a large crowd of women and children gather on a riverbank. Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet crossed the drone’s high-resolution field of view and dropped a 500-pound bomb over the crowd, engulfing it in a shaky explosion.

As the smoke cleared, several people stumbled into hiding. Then a jet following them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, followed by another, killing most of the survivors.

It was March 18, 2019. US Army’s Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar Uniformed personnel watching the live drone footage stared in amazement, according to an officer who was present at the busy Combined Air Operations Center in the United States of America.

“Who dropped this?”

A confused analyst wrote to a secure chat system used by those watching the drone, two people who studied the chat log recalled. Another replied, “We’ve just hit 50 women and children.” The initial battle damage assessment quickly found that the death toll was actually around 70.

The Baghuz attack was one of the biggest incidents of civilian casualties in the war against the Islamic State, but it was never made public by the US military. Details reported here for the first time show that the death toll was understood almost instantly by military officials.

A legal officer marked the strike as a possible war crime that warrants investigation. But the army made moves that disguised the disastrous strike at almost every step. The death toll has been underestimated.

Reports were deferred, sanitized and classified. Coalition forces led by the US bulldozer demolished the blast site. And senior leaders were not notified.

IG Report Halted

The Department of Defense’s independent inspector general launched an investigation, but the report containing his findings was halted, and the Baghuz strike was not mentioned.

“The leadership seemed very determined to bury it. No one wanted to do anything with it,” said Gene Tate, an evaluator working on the case for the office of the inspector general, agreeing to discuss the unclassified aspects.

When people are trying to do the right thing, but no one in a leadership position wants to hear it, at times he did not even inform his own military partners of his actions. An officer at the command center said that at the time of the Baghuz bombing, the US Air Force command in Qatar had no idea the attack was coming.

Minutes after the strike, an alarmed Air Force intelligence officer at the operations center called an Air Force attorney tasked with determining the legality of the strikes. According to documents obtained by The Times, the lawyer ordered the F-15E fleet and drone crew to withhold all video and other evidence. He went upstairs and reported the strike to the chain of command, saying it was a possible violation of the law of armed conflict – a war crime – and that the regulations require a thorough and independent investigation.

But a thorough, independent investigation never happened.

This week, after the New York Times sent its findings to the US Central Command, which oversees the air war in Syria, the command first acknowledged the attacks, saying that 80 people were killed but the airstrikes were justified.

He said the bombs killed 16 fighters and four civilians. The statement said it was unclear whether the 60 other people killed were civilians, in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes take up arms.

“We are disgusted by the loss of innocent lives and are taking all possible measures to prevent them,” Captain Bill Urban, the command’s chief spokesman, said in a statement. “In this case, we reported the strike ourselves and investigated it based on our own evidence and took full responsibility for the unintended loss of life.”

Dave Philipps and 

NY Times: In the last days of the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once-fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a U.S. military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank.

Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone’s high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.

It was March 18, 2019. At the U.S. military’s busy Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, uniformed personnel watching the live drone footage looked on in stunned disbelief, according to one officer who was there.

“Who dropped that?” a confused analyst typed on a secure chat system being used by those monitoring the drone, two people who reviewed the chat log recalled. Another responded, “We just dropped on 50 women and children.”

An initial battle damage assessment quickly found that the number of dead was actually about 70.

The Baghuz strike was one of the largest civilian casualty incidents of the war against the Islamic State, but it has never been publicly acknowledged by the U.S. military. The details, reported here for the first time, show that the death toll was almost immediately apparent to military officials. A legal officer flagged the strike as a possible war crime that required an investigation. But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike. The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized and classified. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site.  Read more..

tt

About VT Editors
VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff
ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Official” civilian death count in battle of Baghuz situated on Iraq border, is 459 (google says at least)
    Probably ten times that.
    In comparison:
    Unofficial civilian death toll in battle for Mosul was about 11,000 (a associated press estimate because US military and coalition of the willing do not keep track of civilan deaths “its not their job”)

    In Mosul, 6,500 ISIS fighters were killed, 4000 of them were “EXECUTED”

    Didnt hear anything about executions did we?

    I wonder if they cut their heads off as the most common execution method.
    Probably the executions were left to the Kurdish forces to do The USA and UK prefer air bombardments to massacre civilians.
    I dont know if you can blame Trump for all of this as Mosul, and the “Battle for Mosul” began Oct 2016, just before Trump elected, and extended into July 2017 but go ahead and blame him as he in charge for 7 months into flattening Mosul to capture the oil region and he is one ultimately responsible for all civilians killed, as its “worth it” to get that oil isnt it.

  2. How does this compare to the hundreds of thousands Japanese and German civilians vaporized by fire and atomic bombs during WWII. I can’t remember if any American civilians were killed during terror raids against the US homeland. Not. Survival of the “Fittest”.

  3. Of the 2 and a half century existence of the United States of America, only some two decades did the US not engage in Wars. War Crimes were hard to avoid, by those in charge, during that time, It is the ‘Commander in Chief’, who has to take the blame, for those Crimes Against Humanity! “Spreading American Values” ??