10-03-2019 Women with children fleeing Baghuz, last stronghold of Islamic State in Syria MIDDLE EAST POLICY ASIA SYRIA © UNICEF / UN0277723 / SOULEIMAN / DELIL SOULEIMAN
MADRID, 29 (EUROPA PRESS)
The Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, has ordered on Monday a new high-ranking investigation of the US air attack carried out in Syria during a secret mission in March 2019, the consequences of which were covered up by the military authorities themselves. Dozens of civilians were killed in the attack.
Defense Department sources cited by the newspaper ‘The New York Times’ have explained on condition of anonymity that the investigation will be led by General Michael Garrett. The attack was launched by a special operations unit called Task Force 9, a group that will also be investigated, according to these sources.
Subsequently, the Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, has confirmed the opening of the investigation.
Garrett will have 90 days to review previous investigations into what happened and discuss any additional information on civilian casualties, possible violations of the laws of war, the data collection process, implementation of previous investigation recommendations, and possible accountability. of those responsible.
The attack occurred during the final days of the campaign against Islamic State in the town of Baguz, in eastern Syria. A US F-15E fighter jet dropped two bombs – one weighing 220 kilos and the other weighing 900 – on a crowd of people, mainly women and children.
The day after the attack, eyewitnesses claimed to have seen entire piles of corpses of women and children, but the forces of the coalition led by the United States cleared the site of the explosion with bulldozers and no head of the military chain of command was correctly informed. from what has occured.
Shortly after the attack, the Air Force lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel Dean W. Korsak, tried to initiate an independent investigation to elucidate what happened, understanding that a war crime could have occurred in this attack on Baguz, considered the last great bastion. Islamic State in the country. However, their requests fell on deaf ears.
“Top US military officials intentionally and systematically circumvented the procedure,” the lawyer denounced in an email to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am exposing myself to retaliation for sending this email,” he added.
According to an investigation by ‘The New York Times’, during the weeks after the bombing “the number of deaths was minimized and the reports classified.”
After months of investigations, and pressured by the ‘Times’ investigation, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) finally acknowledged to the newspaper that the bombs killed 80 people. According to the entity, the death toll includes 16 combatants and four civilians, but who the other 60 deceased are is unknown.