US bombing reportedly ends the lives of fifty civilians. How does that help us defeat ISIS?
Leaders in the United States insist on pretending that we can wage war with technologically sophisticated weaponry that allows them to put no soldiers’ lives at risk. But that “war from a distance” often doesn’t work out the way they promise us that it will.
Thus, McClatchy DC reports, “U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians.”
A U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed at least 50 Syrian civilians late last month when it targeted a headquarters of Islamic State extremists in northern Syria, according to an eyewitness and a Syrian opposition human rights organization.
The civilians were being held in a makeshift jail in the town of Al Bab, close to the Turkish border, when the aircraft struck on the evening of Dec. 28, the witnesses said. The building, called the Al Saraya, a government center, was leveled in the airstrike. It was days before civil defense workers could dig out the victims’ bodies.
The U.S. Central Command, which had not previously announced the airstrike, confirmed the attack Saturday in response to repeated McClatchy inquiries. “Coalition aircraft did strike and destroy an ISIL headquarters building in Al Bab on Dec. 28,” Col. Patrick S. Ryder said in an email.
The military also denied knowing about any civilian deaths. But the fact that the strike was not announced (when strikes are usually announced to the media) makes one wonder if there was a cover-up involved.
Central Command spokesman Ryder said the failure to list the Dec. 28 airstrike was an administrative oversight.
McClatchy located two sources who confirmed a high civilian death toll from the strike. One witness, an activist in Al Bab, gave the death toll as 61 civilian prisoners and 13 Islamic State guards. The Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated the death toll at 80, and said 25 of those were Islamic State Guards and another 55 were either civilians or imprisoned fighters from non-Islamic State rebel groups.
Either number would make the Al Bab strike the single worst case of civilian deaths since the U.S. began bombing targets in Syria.
Witnesses also claimed that the bombed building was holding people accused of violating Sharia law as well as captured fighters who opposed ISIS.
Great job, Pentagon!