World Insights: U.S. military covers up civilian killings to escape punishment -- Syrian experts-Xinhua

World Insights: U.S. military covers up civilian killings to escape punishment -- Syrian experts

Source: Xinhua| 2022-05-25 10:14:26|Editor:

DAMASCUS, May 25 (Xinhua) -- During its controversial war on terror in Syria, the U.S. military killed a big number of civilians and has ever since trying to cover up the crimes in order to escape with impunity, Syrian experts have said.

In a 2019 airstrike near the town of Baghouz in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zour province, a total of 80 people were killed, 64 of whom were believed to be civilians including women and children, in one of the largest civilian casualty incidents in the U.S. war against the Islamic State (IS).

However, the killing of civilians in the attack was first exposed by The New York Times in last November, prompting a U.S. internal probe by the Pentagon, which concluded last week that most of the killed were "IS fighters" so no U.S. troops involved should be even disciplined.

In defense of the conclusion, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said: "yes, we killed some innocent civilians, women and children...It was in the midst of combat, in the fog of war."

The U.S. Central Command also defended its action earlier by claiming that 60 of the victims "might have been terrorists because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms."

The cold-blooded dismissal of any wrongdoing has once again attested to the U.S. hypocrisy, if not leniency, toward heinous war crimes committed by U.S. troops in other countries, said Syrian experts.

Hussam Shoaib, a Syrian political expert, told Xinhua that the Pentagon was forced to carry out the investigation to give an impression that Washington is concerned about human rights, but the conclusion was shameless and hypocritic by refusing to hold accountable any of those behind the civilian killings.

"Of course, the goal behind delaying the investigation was an attempt to absorb the public opinion. Now, this announcement came out, aside from the issue of numbers, to give a new impression that the United States of America is defending human rights and is concerned about it," he said.

Shoaib stressed that there were even more victims than what the U.S. media had reported in the strike in Baghouz, and that the United States wants to hide the real number of victims to escape with impunity.

"Today when we talk about the Baghouz massacre maybe there were more than 70 deaths because the U.S. wants to dwarf the numbers to give the impression that there were no mass killings against the civilian population as a result of its barbaric operations in Syria," he said.

Mohammad al-Omari, another Syrian political expert, said the United States has been trying very hard to polish its own image as an invader and exonerate its troops in Syria from the crimes they are accused of.

He told Xinhua that the Syrian government and U.S. media had both accused the U.S. administration of committing mass killings of civilians in Syria, but Washington has been "deliberately hiding the actual number of civilian victims so to maintain its self-drawn image of a human rights protector."

"This indicates that the U.S., which carries flashy slogans about the protection of human rights and democracy, is actually violating the human rights and the rights of the Syrians through committing massacres against the Syrian people," al-Omari said.

The irony, he said, is that those who claim to be protecting civilians and their rights cover up their own crimes against civilians under the pretext of fighting terror.

Al-Omari also said that the United States violated the international law by creating the so-called anti-terror coalition against the IS outside the international legitimacy and without the consent of the Syrian government.

"The creation of the anti-terror coalition outside international legitimacy, the intervention in the Syrian territories without coordination with the Syrian state, and the killing of Syrians under the slogan of fighting terrorism, indicate how the U.S. is undermining the international law under the pretext of freedom and human rights," he said.