US Forces May Have Committed War Crimes in Syria: UN Report

Andrea Germanos — Common Dream Sept 11, 2019

A new report out Wednesday from United Nations investigators says that U.S. forces may have committed war crimes in Syria.

Released by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, the report catalogs how the eight-year conflict “continues to torment civilians who bear the brunt of hostilities,” as operations carried out by the U.S.-led international coalition, militants, and Russia-backed pro-government forces have left essential infrastructure obliterated, civilians killed, maimed, and uprooted, and communities in “near complete destruction.”

The powers providing support for the warring parties, the report says, “bear a shared responsibility for the crimes committed against millions of Syrian women, men, and children.”

The commission’s findings are based on investigations conducted from January to July this year, including satellite imagery, interviews, and medical records.

Among the specific actions scrutinized in the report was the Al-Jazeera Storm operation in Hajin carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and international coalition. One strike in the operation targeted a residential building and killed 16 civilians, the majority of whom were less than 5 years old. The commission said its investigation turned up no evidence of an ISIL presence or military target in the area.

From the report:

The evidence obtained regarding this incident indicated that international coalition forces failed to employ the necessary precautions to discriminate adequately between military objectives and civilians. The commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international coalition forces may not have directed their attacks at a specific military objective, or failed to do so with the necessary precaution. Launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases in which such attacks are conducted recklessly.

Actions by terrorist groups and pro-government forces were also identified as possible war crimes.

“The commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that members of the armed groups in Afrin continued to commit the war crimes of hostage-taking, cruel treatment, torture, and pillage,” the report states.

The document cites evidence of pro-government forces having used cluster bombs on a residential area in southern Idlib.

It also say pro-government forces launched air strikes on at least three hospitals in Idlib. The “pattern of attack strongly suggests that pro-government forces systematically targeted medical facilities,” says the report. “Such attacks may amount to the war crime of deliberately attacking protected objects and intentionally attacking medical personnel.”

The report also laid out a number of recommendations, including for the Syrian government to ensure unconditional access to medical and humanitarian aid and to ensure protection of health workers.

US led Coalition planes drop White Phosphorus over Raqqa in 2017. Click to enlarge

The U.N. body also urged the U.S.-led coalition to strengthen protections to avoid civilian casualties and to carry out transparent post-operation investigations “following allegations of civilian casualties from aerial and night search operations, with a view to identifying broader patterns of harm, improving operational practice and promoting accountability, and ensuring adequate and prompt reparations.”

Advocacy groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously pointed to the ongoing tally of Syrian civilian deaths at the hand of the U.S.-led coalition, and said the true death toll is likely far higher that what the coalition acknowledges.

In their detailed exposé on the 2017 U.S.-led bombing campaign of Raqqa, Amnesty and transparency group Airwars captured the voices of some of the Syrians living through the deadly attacks.

“The shells struck one after the other,” said Ahmad, a resident of Raqqa’s Darai’ya neighborhood. “It was indescribable, it was like the end of the world—the noise, people screaming. If I live 100 years I won’t forget this carnage.”

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5 responses to “US Forces May Have Committed War Crimes in Syria: UN Report”

  1. As long as anyone fails to look for the truth and chooses to deny it when it comes to destabilizing and plundering sovereign nations, which includes bribing, cheating, robbing and killing innocent people for their own interests or for the interests that of their tribe, religion, or nation then they are as guilty as their own soldiers or proxies pulling the trigger in places like Syria.

  2. The report says that US forces MAY have committed war crimes. The whole episode of America being involved in. Syrian political and military affairs was and still is a war crime they have no legal right to be there. The country never did ask the UN for any assistance . The UN therefore is guilty of the same charge.

  3. We all know nothing is going to happen to the evil USA empire, as they are a law unto themselves, and war crimes is what they do best:

  4. What the devil do you mean “U.S. forces MAY have committed war crimes in Syria”?!? Of course they fucking did. No question. Inciting a “civil war”, creating mass instability, invading a sovereign nation on completely illegal and grossly immoral grounds, murdering innocent civilians in a country that WAS peaceful, stable, democratic, secular, and fairly prosperous, all for the sake of a fucking maniacal Israel and to try to lure Iran into a fight? Politicians, advisors, bankers, Jews, and military cronies, anybody who played any part in the naked aggression against Syria, in the United States, UK, France, and Israel should be swinging from ropes tied to tree branches on one end and cinched around their criminal worthless necks on the other end. The military personnel who followed orders which were obviously so illegal and immoral should be lined against a wall and shot.

  5. May have? The US Army consists of the utmost rubbish runt of the litter of the American pyramid of hierarchy. Even rats rank higher than American troops.

    They only have one thing in mind. Rape. And they murder any man who stands in their way. Barbaric filthy disease spreading runt of the litter. They rape underage Arab girls and then strangle them to death when they’ve had their fill.

    This is what you get when you employ the absolute filth of society to fight your wars. And this is precisely what America’s Zionist overlords count on.

    They want the filth from American society to go into Arab countries to spread more of their filth over there. Is it really any secret?