News & Politics

U.S. Airstrikes Kill 60 Civilians in Syria; U.S.-Backed Rebels Behead Young Boy

U.S. air strikes in Syria killed nearly 60 fleeing civilians on Tuesday after the coalition somehow mistook them for Islamic State fighters. The eight families were hit while trying to escape the intense fighting in the area. The UK Telegraph described the foulup as “one of the deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.”

Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes on the Isil-controlled village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes appeared to have been carried out in error, with the civilians mistaken for Islamist militants.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes appeared to have been carried out in error, with the civilians mistaken for Islamist militants.

It is thought Tuesday’s bombing was among the first by jets taking off from Incirlik air base in Turkey since it reopened after the failed coup.

The area has seen intense fighting between extremists and members of the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) that have been advancing towards the Isil stronghold of Manbij under the cover of intense airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

The coalition has carried out more than 450 air strikes around the city since the operation to take the town began in May.

Meanwhile, gruesome video footage has emerged of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels beheading a little boy who might have been as young as ten years old in an act of barbaric savagery that leaders of the group involved called an “individual mistake.”

Via CNN:

The video that emerged on social media showed a visibly frightened boy lying in the back of a truck alongside what appeared to be several rebel fighters.
The rebels claimed the boy was a prisoner from Liwa al-Quds — a pro-regime militia force made up mostly of Palestinians in Syria — and that he was captured from an unofficial refugee camp north of war-torn Aleppo.

The footage then shows one of the men taking a knife to the child’s head. The boy appears to be quite young, perhaps around 10, though CNN cannot verify his age or identity.

But al-Quds denied the boy had anything to do with the group, saying that he was not a prisoner and lived with his family — “one among a number of poor families living in areas controlled by the terrorists.”

The Daily Mail has additional horrifying details:

Sickening footage shot immediately before the boy is slaughtered shows him in ragged clothes surrounded by bearded militants in the back of a pick-up truck.
One of them holds him by the hair and slaps him in the face.

Judging by his ragged clothes and the marks on his arms, it appears the boy was impoverished and may have been tortured before he was murdered in the video, seen by MailOnline.
The boy is placed face-down in the back of the truck with his arms tied behind his back when the executioner is handed a small knife by a fellow fighter.
He then cuts the boy’s throat before shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and holds his head aloft.
Before the video ends, he places the head on the boy’s back before jumping down from the SUV.

The rebel group involved, the Nour al-Din Zenky Movement, and its allies, the Islamic Front and the Free Syrian Army, are fighting with the United States’ assistance to overthrow the Assad regime. The group characterized the butchery as an “individual mistake,” although there were clearly more than one individual involved in the incident.

The U.S government has reportedly supplied Nour al-Din Zenky with money and anti-tank missiles, but is now rethinking its alliance with the group.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee yesterday asked State Department spokesman Mark Toner if the United States would continue supporting the group.

This came after Toner, in reference to the attempted coup in Turkey, told reporters, “I’d caution anyone who thinks violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims” — which elicited a smirk from Lee.

“Really?” the AP reporter asked.  “Can you think of any time in the recent — you know — in our lifetimes —  that the United States has not only ‘not condemned violence to effect political change,’ but actually supported it?”

Toner fumbled around for an answer: “Uh — I’m not trying to be dense here,” he began. “Situations are complex in many parts of the world — uh — but — I think it’s a pretty common dictate of ours to say that — you know — if there’s no military solution to the crisis, political or otherwise,” Toner answered lamely.

“Can we talk about Syria?” Lee asked. “Considering there’s a lot of violence going on there.”

“I’m wondering if you have seen the video or you’re aware of this beheading of a child by a group that is supported by the United States?” Lee asked.

Toner said he’d seen the reports but that the State Department hadn’t been able to confirm exactly what happened. “It’s an appalling report,” he allowed.

Lee asked Toner if confirmation of the report would affect the United States’ assistance to the group, and in general to other rebel fighters in Syria.

Toner replied, “If we can prove that this is indeed what happened, and this group was involved with it, I think it would certainly give us pause.”

“It would give you pause?” Lee asked incredulously.

“Well —  give us pause about any assistance or frankly any further involvement with this group,” Toner answered.

“There will be some kind of consequence?” Lee pressed.

“Again, I can’t say what that consequence will be, but it will give us serious pause and we’ll look at frankly any affiliation or cooperation with this group,” Toner said.

The U.S. has known for years that the Syrian rebels are infested with jihadis and has continued to support them nonetheless. History is not going to be kind to this administration.