US killed 70 civilians in 2019 airstrike in Syria: report

Casualties, including women, children, in Baghuz 'has never been publicly acknowledged' by US military, says New York Times.

US killed 70 civilians in 2019 airstrike in Syria: report

US fighter jets killed 70 civilians, including women and children, in Syria's Baghuz town in 2019, according to a report Saturday.

The casualties occurred in an airstrike that came without warning on March 18 during the last days of the fight against Daesh/ISIS terror group in the eastern part of the country, the New York Times reported.

First, a US military drone spotted a crowd and an American F-15E attack jet bombed the civilians, followed by another jet that tracked the crowd and killed most of the survivors, said the Times.

"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," said the report, referring to an alternate name for Daesh/ISIS.

The US military concealed the "catastrophic" bombing and the death toll was downplayed, with reports being delayed and classified, according to the newspaper. The site was bulldozed by US-led coalition forces and top leaders were not informed.

Gene Tate, a former Navy officer who served as a civilian analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center, criticized the lack of action and was later expelled from his office.

"Leadership just seemed so set on burying this. No one wanted anything to do with it," Tate told the Times. "It makes you lose faith in the system when people are trying to do what’s right but no one in positions of leadership wants to hear it."

Hüseyin Demir