The US Central Command (CENTCOM) says that it’s fine to kill civilians in Syria while these civilians are trapped in the ISIS-held area.
On October 21, Commander of CENTCOM Army Gen. Joseph Votel commented on a series of airstrikes on the mosque in the village of al-Susah in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside, which took place last week and reportedly resulted in the killing of at least 46 civilians. According to AP, he said that he’s very satisfied by the actions of the US-led coalition.
“The determination that was made by the leadership on the ground that this was this mosque was not being used as a mosque,” Votel told reporters traveling with him in Qatar, according to AP. “These aren’t hastily made decisions.”
Additionally, the US-led coalition said that the targeted building was not used as a mosque. The coalition even claimed monitoring of the building “made us aware” of when only ISIS members were present. But this version does not explain dozens of killed civilians there, which are confirmed by both pro-Damascus and pro-opposition sources: the Syrian state news agency SANA and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The blame and deny approach demonstrated by Army Gen. Votel and the coalition is common for the US military. On October 15, Amnesty International released a report slamming the coalition for its denials of civilian deaths during its operations in the city of Raqqah.
“Disturbingly, the Pentagon does not even seem willing to offer an apology for the hundreds of civilians killed in its ‘war of annihilation’ on Raqqa. This is an insult to families who – after suffering the brutality of IS rule – lost loved ones to the Coalition’s cataclysmic barrage of firepower,” Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General, said, according to the report.
In light of the recent remarks by the coalition and Army Gen. Votel show that the Washington establishment is still not interested in the truth and will not move to admit the real civilian death toll caused by its forces.