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Pentagon says no wrongdoing in Syria strike that killed civilians

Dozens of people were killed in the attack, the majority of them women and children. 

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Washington: The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that an internal United States military review of a 2019 air attack in Syria that killed civilians has found that US troops not guilty of any violation of the law of war or act negligently, Al Jazeera reported.

The Pentagon said that no one including the ground force commander, was disciplined for the attack, which was launched in support of Syrian partner forces who were under heavy fire from the ISIL (ISIS) armed group near the town of Baghuz, in eastern Syria in March 2019.

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Dozens of people were killed in the attack, the majority of them women and children. 

The report said a US legal officer “flagged the strike as a possible war crime” and that “at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike”.

But the military’s investigation, while acknowledging the civilian casualties, rejected there had been a cover-up, instead blaming “administrative deficiencies” that delayed reporting on the casualties from the attack.

It said the US ground force commander for the anti-ISIL coalition received a request for air attack support from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in the area, saying the commander “received confirmation that no civilians were in the strike area” and authorised the raid.

However, they later found out there were civilians at the location, with the report saying that four civilians, one woman and three children, were killed and 15 were injured. Meanwhile, 52 “enemy combatants” were killed and two were wounded in the raid, including a child who was considered a fighter, according to the report.

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