Pentagon Chief Orders New Inquiry Into US Airstrike That Killed Syrian Civilians

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 airstrike carried out by the US forces in Syria in which dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed.

“The secretary has directed a review of the civilian casualty incident that occurred on March 18, 2019, in Baghuz, Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters.

The investigation will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the head of Army Forces Command, according to Kirby.

Gen. Garret will also review the investigations already conducted on the incident and “conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances related to it and he has 90 days to complete the investigation.

The new high-level review comes after the New York Times had recently published a report about the US airstrike that killed 70 civilians.

After the report, the House and the Senate Armed Services Committees said they are looking into the matter.

Austin had earlier vowed to overhaul military procedures and hold top officers responsible for civilian harm in Syria airstrikes.

In October 2019, the classified task force investigated the strike and acknowledged that four civilians were killed, but it also concluded that there had been no wrongdoing by the Special Operations unit.

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