Tuesday, June 18, 2024

He was killed next to his goats.. A father of ten was killed in a US strike in northern Syria


(CNN) — A 56-year-old father of ten was killed in northwest Syria this month by a U.S. military drone strike while tending to his sheep, his relatives told CNN. Killed in action.

In a tweet announcing the operation that day, Central Command said the May 3 strike in northwest Syria targeted a key al-Qaeda leader.

Fighter Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and surrounding regions, said it would provide more information “as operational details become available.”

Officials boasted about the success of the operation, confident that the strike hit its target, although it was difficult to positively identify the target of the strike because of the lack of a US military presence in northwestern Syria. .

No other casualties were reported in the drone strike.

In the two weeks since the operation, Central Command has not released any additional information about the target.

Central Command spokesman Michael Lawhorn said in a statement that “Central Command is aware of allegations that the strike may have caused civilian casualties” and is investigating “whether the strike may have inadvertently caused civilian harm.”

The Washington Post first reported that the US military was investigating whether a civilian was killed in the attack.

He was killed near his sheep

Since then, relatives of a man killed in an individual attack on the same day in the same area have given their version of events that he was a patriot who had no links with the militants.

Lutfi Hassan Mesto was tending his sheep in Al-Garganiya village in Idlib Governorate on the morning of Wednesday, May 3, when his brother rushed to the spot after hearing an explosion.

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“When we crossed the mountain, we found Ludfi ​​dead along with his six goats,” his older brother Mohamed Mesto told CNN on Friday.

Minutes after the location was reported to the local emergency number, the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, said they had reached the location.

“The team observed a crater caused by a missile, which was next to the man’s body,” the Syrian Civil Defense said in a statement to CNN on Friday, stressing that the man was grazing his sheep.

“When the team arrived, his wife, neighbors and other persons were present at the spot,” the team added.

A video clip provided to CNN by the Syrian Civil Defense showed the moment the team arrived at the site.

A woman was heard crying as a young man hugged the body of a man lying motionless on the ground.

Three men dragged the youth while another covered his body with a cloth on the ground.

“He is a martyr, God willing,” an unidentified voice said in the video.

The Syrian Civil Defense later took the body to a local hospital.

Lotfi, who has 10 children, including a five-year-old, did not leave her village during the Syrian uprisings and did not support any political faction, her brother said.

“There is no Free Syrian Army, no Syrian regime, no ISIS, no al Qaeda, no Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, nothing, it’s just a civilian trying to make a living,” his brother said, listing the various factions in Syria’s brutal civil war. .

Muhammad Saji, Mesto’s cousin who lives in Gargania, told CNN that Lutfi was never known to support or oppose the Syrian regime.

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He said it was impossible for him to be with Al Qaeda, he didn’t even have a beard.

After a drone strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children, in the final days of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the issue of civilian casualties is a critical one for the Pentagon, particularly Central Command.

The military initially said it had targeted and killed an ISIS member in Khorasan, citing the presence of secondary explosives as evidence that the target was stockpiling explosives.

But the clarification eventually collapsed, and the military admitted the move was a big mistake.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin decided not to punish anyone for the failed operation, even as he directed Central Command and Special Operations Command to improve policies and procedures to prevent harm to civilians.

Austin pledged to overhaul Defense Department policies and create a Civilian Defense Center to better protect civilians, saying at the time that “leaders of this department must be held accountable for high standards of conduct and leadership.”

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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