By Moon of Alabama. Originally published at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/us-allies-volunteer-to-share-blame-for-deir-ezzor-attack.html.
The U.S. is trying to distribute the blame for its air support of ISIS against the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor.
“Today at 17:00-17:50 Moscow time, international anti-Daesh coalition (two F-16 and two A-10 jets) carried out four strikes on Syrian government forces’ units encirled by Daesh near Deir ez-Zor airport. The coalition’s aircraft entered Syrian airspace from the side of the Iraqi border,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
As a result of the attack, 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and some 100 others were injured, according to information received from the Syrian command in Deir ez-Zor, he said.
The Syrian government now says some 82 soldiers were killed in the attack which also destroyed 3 T-72 tanks, 3 infantry fighting vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun and at least 4 mortars. Following the attack the Islamic State troops stormed the Syrian government position on the Jabal Thardeh hill. They are now able to harass the airport of Deir Ezzor, the only supply line for the ISIS besieged city and the 150,000+ civilians living there under government protection.
We note that this was not the first U.S. attack on Syrian government forces in Deir Ezzor. Back in December 3 Syrian soldiers were killed in an air raid. In June a U.S. air attack on Manbij killed some 100 civilians. No U.S. attack on any ISIS target in Syria ever came near such casualty numbers.
It is very doubtful that this was not an intended attack. Even Human Rights Watch recognized Saturday’s mass murder as “signal” to the Syrian government (before deleting its tweet).
Now the blame has to be spread.
Early Sunday Australia jumped in claiming its jets had taken part in the attack:
Australian aircraft were involved in a US-led coalition operation which killed dozens of Syrian soldiers stationed near Eastern ISIS stronghold city of Deir Ezzor, the Australia’s Defense Department confirmed.
“Australian aircraft were among a number of international aircraft taking part in this Coalition operation,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
Late Sunday the Danes followed:
“Two Danish F-16 [fighter aircraft] participated in these attacks along with the aircraft of other nations. The strikes had been stopped immediately after the Russian side reported that the positions of the Syrian servicemen had been hit,” the military command authority of the Danish Armed Forces said in a statement issued Sunday.
This morning, the BBC defense correspondent says, the UK also claimed guilty:
Jonathan Beale @bealejonathanBBC understands @RoyalAirForce jets might have been involved in #Syria Airstrikes that killed 60 + Syrian soldiers.
Four planes attacked and four airforces claim to have been part of it? That is neither plausible nor realistic.
Only the U.S. operates A-10 ground attack planes. Neither the U.K nor Australia own or operate F-16 fighters. While the Danish airforce deployed F-16s to the Middle East theater, those planes were send to only operated in Iraq, not in Syria:
Denmark will send seven F-16 fighter jets to help combat IS militants in Iraq, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said on Friday.”I am very pleased that there now is a broad coalition, including countries in the region who want to… contribute,” she said at a press conference, adding that the Danish fighter jets would not join US planes in bombing targets in Syria.
Additionally the Syrian military said that the planes came from Erbil in the Kurdish ruled northern part of Iraq. No other nation but the U.S. is known to use the Erbil facilities for fighter flights.
The drones which had kept surveillance over the area were also U.S. ones:
The strike began in the early evening, when planes attacked a group of vehicles that American surveillance aircraft had been watching for several days, according to a Centcom official ..
Obviously someone in a U.S. command phoned up U.S. allies and asked them to please share the blame for the “mistaken” U.S. air support for the ISIS ground attack: “If all are guilty, no one is guilty and no one can be punished.”
A famous book and movie is the template for such play:
As Poirot pursues his investigation, he discovers that everyone in the coach had a connection to the Armstrong family and, therefore, had a motive to kill Cassetti. Poirot proposes two possible solutions … The first solution is that a stranger boarded the train and murdered Cassetti. The second one is that all 13 people in the coach were complicit in the murder, seeking the justice that Cassetti had escaped in the United States. He concedes Countess Helena Andrenyi didn’t take part, so the murderers numbered 12, resembling a self-appointed jury. Mrs. Hubbard .. confesses that the second solution is the correct one.
With many parties claiming the crime the one real culprit can not be convicted. This new Murder on the Orient Express will stay unpunished.
The ceasefire in Syria is breaking down. The U.S. did not fulfill its promise to separate its “moderate rebel” proxy forces from al-Qaeda. No smokescreen of lamenting about humanitarian access can change that fact.
The Russian and Syrian airforce will soon go back to work. Any soldiers of the U.S. “coalition” in Syria should watch out for those planes. If the U.S. and its allies can make “mistakes” like in Deir Ezzor, others may also show imperfections in their operations.