Updated: Dec 20, 2021
By: CAITLYN KANEMITSU / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The U.S.’s involvement in Syria is nothing new.
In March of 2019, the United States military sent an airstrike to Syria, killing about 80 women and children when a F-15E attack jet flew over the city of Baghouz and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the civilians below.
Those who were able to survive the first bomb fled for shelter but safety was far from their reach when two more bombs, this time weighing more than 2,000-pounds each, leaving very few survivors.
According to Lars Hauch from the Middle East Institute, the United State’s coalition team that intervened in Syria should “bear responsibility for what happened (in Baghouz).”
In order to hide any information or evidence of reports of the US being involved with casualties in Syria, reports were wiped clean and top leaders were not notified of the events that had occurred
Gene Tate, an evaluator who worked on the case spoke with the New York Times and mentioned that “leadership just seemed so set on burying this (the airstrike). No one wanted anything to do with it… It makes you lose faith in the system when people are trying to do what’s right but no one in positions of leadership wants to hear it.”
Due to negligence to right wrong-doings, no regulations for reporting potential crimes were followed through and no one was held accountable for the lives that were lost.
The US’s Military History in the Middle East
A few years ago, in February of 2019, the US and the Taliban agreed to sign a peace agreement that would put an end to 17 years of war in Afghanistan.
In the final months of his presidency however, President Trump decided to break off peace talks with the Taliban after a US soldier was killed in an attack.
After months of back and forth decision-making, President Trump ordered roughly 1,400 troops to be removed from the northeastern part of Syria and placed in Iraq due to the United States’ inability to deter Turkish forces from invading Syria.
This was not the first time that a US president tried to end hostilities in both Afghanistan and Syria.
In 2011, under the leadership of President Obama, the United States government became involved with Syria’s affairs when the former President ordered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign.
Obama’s call for al-Assad’s resignation came after several protests of the latter’s oppressive rule sparked conversations all over the country as well as abroad.
Even after the Syrian Civil War and Obama’s statement, nothing has changed and after 21 years in power and a decade in war, al-Assad remains in power.
In 2014, however, in an effort to free hostages of the Islamic State the US divulged classified information that there were several ground troops in Syria.
The first American ground troops quickly grew to 2,000 troops and recruited Syrian, Kurdish, and Arab fighters. Together these forces would create the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help American forces fight against ISIS.
Accountability for Afghanistan
John F. Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, informed the New York Times late last month that an inquiry review of the airstrike on March 19 will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command.
In Garrett’s upcoming review, he will reference the reports of the investigation that have already been conducted to assess the civilian casualties that resulted from the incident. He will also review their compliance with the law of war, record-keeping and reporting procedures.
Garrett will then determine whether mitigation measures identified in previous investigations into the incident were implemented effectively and if accountability measures would be appropriate; The inquiry will be completed by Feb. 27.