Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Al-Monitor – 2016-08-04 19:47:37
US Announces Formal Investigation Into
Civilian Deaths in US Strikes Against Manbij
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 3, 2016) — With Centcom already promising an investigation into the US airstrikes on July 19 in Manbij, in which warplanes killed up to 200 civilians after “mistaking them for ISIS,” the Pentagon has confirmed today that a second formal investigation has been launched into a July 29 strike, which hit civilian neighborhoods near Manbij, killing another 28.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Chris Garver confirmed that the incidents were found to be “credible enough” to warrant more investigation into the matter, which is unusual, as most such incidents, even with loads of witnesses and evidence, never gets that far before being dismissed by Centcom as “not credible.”
The Pentagon has dramatically undercounted the number of civilians killed throughout the war, admitting only 55 civilians killed in the entire war. The new investigations already have undercounts built into them too, with Garver only confirming “at least 15” killed in the July 29 incident, and 10 to 73 on the July 19 massacre, while saying he believe it was “on the lower end of the scale.”
The most recent US accounting of civilian deaths ended in April, before the Obama Administration dramatically scaled back limitations on strikes against ISIS-held targets. All the strikes in Manbij have been in that period, and there were reports of scores of civilians killed in and around Manbij before the July 19 incident. Whether those investigations are still ongoing is unclear, as they were not mentioned.
This is not unusual, as oftentimes US “investigations” seem to disappear into a black hole for months or even years before a public accounting.
Pentagon Probes another Syria Strike for Civilian Deaths
(August 3, 2016) — The US military has completed initial assessments of an air strike that allegedly killed civilians in northwestern Syria last month and is now formally investigating the incident, a defense official said Wednesday.
It is the second such full probe to be launched after two US-led strikes near the Islamic State stronghold of Manbij in July allegedly left dozens of civilians dead.
The latest investigation is into a July 28 strike northwest of Manbij, which according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights killed at least 15 civilians.
“This incident has been found to be credible enough to warrant a formal investigation, which is under way,” said Colonel Chris Garver, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting jihadists of the IS group in Iraq and Syria.
The US military’s Central Command (Centcom) had already announced it was investigating a July 19 strike in a village called Al-Tukhar near Manbij in Aleppo province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, were killed.
Garver told reporters the US military was aware of reports after the July 19 strike that ranged from 10 to 73 civilians killed. “We thought it was on the lower end of the scale and not on the higher end,” Garver said.
But allegations surrounding a third incident, on July 23 near Manbij, were deemed not credible, “because the (US-led coalition) did not conduct any strikes in that geographic location,” Garver said.
In total, the US military has acknowledged killing 55 civilians since launching a coalition air war against the IS group two years ago, though critics say that is a dramatic underestimate.
Fresh US Airstrikes Kill 28 Civilians in North Syria
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(July 29, 2016) — According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US airstrikes against al-Ghandour in northern Syria have killed at least 28 civilians, including seven children. The town is near the city of Manbij, which has been a major target of US strikes over the past two months.
This attack is in addition to the other US attacks in and around Manbij in recent weeks, including one Tuesday of last week which was estimated to have killed around 200 civilians. Overall, the US strikes have killed well over 300 civilians since the offensive began in May.
The Syrian Observatory’s statement today warned the number of civilians killed in the area is “rising dramatically,” and demanded that the US-led coalition “stop targeting neighborhoods with civilians,” saying such attacks aren’t acceptable even if ISIS fighters are present.
The US confirmed that it conducted the airstrikes in Ghandour, but said it is still conducting a preliminary investigation into who was killed. The Observatory says they believe the toll will rise further than the 28 already confirmed killed, with a number of people gravely wounded.
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