Russia’s Putin and Israel’s Netanyahu negotiate . . . about what?

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Russia's Putin and Israel's Netanyahu negotiate . . . about what?

“Russia has friendly relations with Israel, and more than a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel, but Iran is a strategic ally of Russia.”

Last week major state and corporate news outlets reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met and agreed on removing Iranian troops from Syria and/or Iran’s border with Syria. Then, on June 3rd, Haaretz and other outlets reported that Israel had, for the first time, participated in a NATO “exercise” near the Russian border. I spoke to Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist specializing in Syria, about what could be behind these reports.

Ann Garrison: I’d like to go through some of these disparate reports about Russia and Israel one by one, but first, what do you think of Israel’s first ever participation in NATO war games near the Russian border?

Rick Sterling: The head of NATO recently confirmed that NATO would NOT get into a war involving Israel because Israel is not a NATO member. But Israel is a “partner,” and in 2014 the US Congress designated Israel as a “major strategic partner.” So I think Israel may be participating in the war maneuvers to demonstrate that it’s a good partner. Of course, Russia sees the NATO military exercises on its border as provocative. They are countering with their own military exercises, so it’s just a continuation in the wrong direction away from peace and mutual acceptance.

AG: OK, now to these reports about negotiations between Russia and Israel. Just before the news that Israel had participated in NATO war games near Russia, Bloomberg News reported that Israel was campaigning to break the alliance between Iran and Russia. What do you think of that?

RS: It’s certainly true that Israel is playing the diplomatic game and trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, but the stories are highly exaggerated. They contain both contradictory information and outright disinformation. Russia has friendly relations with Israel, and more than a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel. But Iran is a strategic ally of Russia.

AG: On June 2nd, the Times of Israel reported that Israel denies inking a deal with Russia on Iranian withdrawal from Syria. What about that?

RS:Well, I haven’t seen any written deal. So what we’re going on are media reports, which are spun in different directions. So, number one, I don’t know if there was a written agreement. Number two, it’s certainly the case that Israel is not only saying that they don’t want Iranian militia or advisors anywhere near the border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, but also that they want them all out of Syria.

“Israel exaggerates the Iranian involvement in Syria for its own purposes.”

Russia and Syria may have agreed to relocate some of the Iranian advisors or Iranian militias away from the Golan Heights border. There were reports that some of those forces were headed out to eastern Syria to do combat there against ISIS, which continues to hold an important area. But even if Israel is trying to insist that no Iranian advisors or militia be in Syria, I can’t see Syria or any sovereign state agreeing to such a demand. Israel exaggerates the Iranian involvement in Syria for its own purposes.

AG: Asharq Al-Aswat reported, also on June 2nd, that Russia and Israel had agreed to keep Iran away from Syria’s South.

RS: Asharq Al-Aswat is a Saudi-owned newspaper coming out of London, so the Saudi influence and heavy anti-Iran bias is evident. The one element of this story that may be true is that the US may actually be uncomfortable with any agreement regarding the US forces that control the area around Al Tanf, a Syrian border area with Iraq. That’s the main highway from Baghdad to Damascus, and it’s currently controlled by US military and various armed militants—including former ISIS fighters—who are trained and controlled by the US. The US doesn’t want to give that up, but the Syrian foreign minister is not mincing his words. He’s saying that all the US forces must leave Syria eventually, and specifically that they should leave that area at the Syria-Iraq border soon.

Al Tanf and the highway between Iraq and Syria is a flashpoint. The US has no right to be there but seems to be digging in while Syria is getting increasingly adamant that they must leave. Things may come to a head there.

AG: Al Monitor says that Russia is “trying a new playbook to calm the escalation between Israel and Iran.” How about that?

RS: I think that’s true. What we’ve seen emerge in the last several years is that the diplomat in the room is Russia. If you look at what’s going on there, the Russian diplomacy is quite impressive and at times quite surprising. Six or eight months ago, the Saudi monarch flew to Moscow for the very first time. Russia brought Iran and Turkey together at the Astana talks, and Russia is trying to soothe the tension and danger of conflict between Israel and Iran. So that story is probably accurate.

AG: Have you seen any reports about negotiations between Russia and Israel on RT, Russia’s state- sponsored English outlet?

RS: I’ve seen some RT coverage, both stories and photographs. They certainly don’t put the spin on it that some of the Western and Israeli media do.

The fundamental fact is that Russia doesn’t want to go to war with the US. They realize how dangerous the situation in Syria currently is. They are not going to give up their long-term alliance with Syria, but at the same time, they’re doing everything they can to cool things down and avoid a head-on conflict.

AG: OK, so we’ve gone through just a sample of the wildly disparate reports and commentary about this, but after reading a lot of it, I had the feeling that this is headed toward the Balkanization of Syria, which has been much discussed for a long time. What are your thoughts about that?

RS: Well, that’s the reality on the ground right now. Turkey is occupying part of the north. Israel and Israeli-supported terrorists are occupying part of the south. The US and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control big swathes of eastern Syria. So Balkanization is already the informal reality on the ground.

In early 2016, John Kerry called it “plan B,” dividing up Syria and partitioning it. He didn’t say it quite that explicitly, but he was clearly suggesting that that’s where things were headed. Now, in opposition to that, you’ve got the Syrian government saying that it will not allow partition and that the US has to leave Syria. Both Assad and the Syrian foreign minister are saying that increasingly forcefully. So we’ll have to see. At the same time it’s dangerous because there’s also threatening talk coming from the United States.

“John Kerry called it “plan B,” dividing up Syria and partitioning it.”

The US, Turkey, and Israel are, of course, violating international law codified in the UN Charter by their military presence in Syria, but the Syrian government seems to be taking things step by step with the support of Russia and Iran. Hopefully, progress can be made and the conflict can be wound down. That would certainly be to the benefit of all Americans as well as Syrians and other peoples of the Middle East.

AG: Do you think that Russia is opposed to Balkanization?

RS: Oh, absolutely. They’re opposed to it. They saw what happened with the war in Yugoslavia and the split, the separation into smaller, weaker states.

Russia also has its own experience with Western and Saudi-funded terrorism. If you look at a map, Syria is not that far from Russia, so of course they are very concerned with the situation there. They have a big stake in seeing the conflict wind down and a peaceful resolution, remote as that may seem. They’re taking the lead in helping to resolve it and working toward reconciliation, which is going to require concessions on the part of Damascus. Russia has explicitly talked about an internationally supervised election in Syria, and hopefully that’s where things will end rather than in World War III.

The question is whether the US and its allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, will give up their goal of “regime change” in Syria. Or will they continue to finance and arm the opposition to further bleed Syria and its allies? The US and allies are prolonging the conflict behind a pretense of humanitarian concern. Meanwhile they ignore obvious travesties such as the Israeli killings at the Gaza border.

AG: And just one more point of clarification regarding the presence of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah in Syria. Their presence is legal, according to international law, because they’re there at the request of the Syrian government. Right?

RS: Yes, that’s correct. Russia, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are in Syria supporting Syrian sovereignty. The Iranian presence in the West tends to be wildly exaggerated, but they do have militia there. They also have advisors, and they’ve lent economic support to Syria. Both Lebanon and Iran know that their own governments are at risk there.

Of course, it was General Wesley Clark who said, back in 2007, that the US had a hit list of seven countries, and we’ve already seen several of them overthrown. Lebanon and Iran know they’re on that list. I’m sure they all realize that if the Syrian state is destroyed, if the government there is toppled and chaos reigns as it does in Libya, they’ll be the next targets. So they’re there for their own sake and for regional stability, not just to support their ally Syria.

By Ann Garrison/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

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"Seven of the top 10 newspapers by circulation—USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Washington Post—supported the airstrikes." (Photo: Screenshot)

Image: Common Dreams via Dallas Morning News

The most influential paper in the country, the New York Times, has not opposed a single US war—from the Persian Gulf to Bosnia, to Kosovo to Iraq to Libya to the forever war on ISIS—in the past 30 years.

A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war.

The mid-market Toledo Blade (4/15/18) punched above its weight class and delivered the most bellicose and jingoistic editorial of them all with “The West Stands Up”

— Read on www.commondreams.org/views/2018/04/18/out-26-major-editorials-trumps-syria-strikes-zero-opposed

Posted by Libergirl

President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of

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Photo by Graham C99 | CC BY 2.0

The single most importantthing that happened Friday night when the US military on President Trump’s orders launched a wave of over 100 cruise missiles against Syria was that once again the US violated the most profound international law of war: initiating a war of aggression against a nation that posed no threat, imminent or otherwise, to the US or its allies.
Called a “Crime against Peace,” this violation (whose perpetrators, under the precedent set in the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II, can face capital punishment), is considered worse than any other war crime because, as US Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson explained in his argument at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, a war of aggressionis “not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
President Trump, during his televised White House announcement just after the launching of his bombing attack on Syria, said, “The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons…We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
He was making the argument that the US, acting on its own authority without any sanction from the UN Security Council as required under international law, somehow had a duty to, on its own, punish Syria for its alleged violation of a Geneva Convention against the use of chemical weapons.
Putting aside for a moment the important question of whether the Syrian government actually did use chemical weapons in the Douma suburb of Damascus, which is in fact highly suspect, even if that country’s leader, Basher al Assad, did order the use of a banned chemical weapon, Assad’s crime would be far less serious than the crime Trump and the US perpetrated under international law.
Fortunately, it appears as if saner members of the largely crazy Trump administration — notably Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general — prevailed over the neoconservative warmongering chicken hawk John Bolton, recently ensconcedin the ever-changing National Security Advisor spot, with the result that the much ballyhooed US cruise missile attack on Syria’s purported “chemical arms infrastructure” was limited to three sites.
More importantly, earlier talk of hitting “command-and-control” centers like government buildings in Damascus, or Syrian air bases — places where Russia had warned that it had its own military personnel and that could have provoked a Russia military response — was pushed aside and such targets were left off the hit list. That meant the risk, about which Mattis pointedly warned in recent days, of this US attack morphing uncontrollably into a war between the two nuclear superpowers operating in Syria, the US and Russia, was minimized.
Fortunately too, for the Syrian people in target areas of the US cruise missiles and the handful of missiles launched by America’s two willing “allies,” Britain and France (whose participation was meant to give a sheen of “multilateralism” to the crime), at least some reports including from Russia claim that up to two-thirds of the US missiles launched were knocked down or blown up in the air by Syrian anti-missile defenses.
So we aren’t facing the threat of a nuclear exchange, or a tense period in which US and Russian soldiers and airmen face each other with tense fingers on triggers in the midst of the Syrian conflict.
For now.
The question is what happens next.
First there needs to be a real investigation, official and by real journalists — the thing that should have happened beforeTrump jumped in with his blustery missile attack (as he Tweeted: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!”) — into whether there was a chemical attack at all on April 7 in the suburb of Douma, and if so, who was behind it.
The claim of an attack is being made by the so-called “White Hats,” a supposedly non-governmental medical aid organization backed and funded by the US and founded by a member of British intelligence which reportedly has links with the Al Nusra terrorist organization in Syria. The Syrian Red Crescent organization which is affiliated with the Red Cross and has a much better reputation as both an aid organization and as a non-partisan truly medical service, has not confirmed a chemical attack. Meanwhile, the Russian television service RT is reporting that the White Hats actually rushed into a Damascus hospital where victims of fighting in Gouda were being treated, and set off a panic among patients by shouting “chemicals, chemicals!” and dousing people with water, leading to the charge of a chemical attack. Russia is also claiming that British intelligence agents were behind the staging of the event.
Many critics are noting that, as in prior questionable cases of the Syrian government being accused of using bannedchemicalweapons, this one occurred not when the government was losing and in a desperate situation, but when it was close to winning control of an area and was really in the “mopping up” phase. Indeed, rebel fighters had already given up and were availing themselves of an evacuation agreement, boarding chartered buses to take them to a safer area in the north of Syria, when the alleged “attack” occurred. (Why one has to wonder, would Assad have launched a chemical attack in that situation, knowing it would provoke another US military response? It makes no sense.)
It is also suspicious that the UN had already ordered inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to go to the site of the alleged attack to look for evidence of chemical use, but the Trump administration couldn’t even wait the four days it would take them to get there to launch an attack — an attack that is bound to delay their arrival and make finding that evidence increasingly difficult and problematic.
It is also significant that the OPCW has been instructed only to search for evidence of chemical weapons use, not to determine blame for its use.
The danger of course, is that if the Syrian government has not been the perpetratorof this or earlier gas attacks, as some investigative reporters like Robert Sheer have claimed, those who would then likely be responsible — the anti-Assad rebel forces — could be encouraged by this attack and the one Trump launched last year after a similar questionable use of chemical weaons, to launch more such faked Syrian attacks, in hopes of luring the US deeper into the Syrian civil war quagmire.
Obviously, such concerns are not being even considered at the White House. Indeed, if this contrarian line of reasoning is correct, it would be more likely that the US and its allies, Britain and France, are involved in the planning of such “false flag” attacks on civilians.
The US media, are largely cheerleading this attack, with reporters asking for details about its success at hitting alleged targets of Syrian chemical weapons storage, manufacture and research, instead of demanding answers as to the attack’s legality. When the decision to launch the attacks is questioned at all, it is not its obvious violation of international law that is raised, but the far subordinate question of whether the president has the right to order such an attack on his own, without the prior approval of Congress. While that is certainly an important question for Americans to ask, given that there was and is no imminent threat of Syria attacking the US or US forces (which in any case are in Syria illegally), it would hardly be any better if Congress did declare war on Syria, since that too would be a war crime under international law.
Clearly we are now in a very dangerous period, with a president, unconstrained by a Congress controlled by his own party, at the same time facing grave and mounting legal threats to his presidency. He is clearly looking at ways to divert media attention from himself and his own criminal behavior and to get an increasingly restive public to rally ‘round the flag and around himself as “commander in chief” of a nation at war.

by Dave Lindorff/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

US ‘needs to stop supporting terrorists’ to avoid possible clash with Turkey in Syria – Deputy PM

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If Washington wants to avoid direct confrontation with Turkey in northern Syria, it “should stop supporting terrorists,” the country’s deputy prime minister told Turkish TV channel, A Haber.
“Those who support the terrorist organization will become a target in this battle,” Bekir Bozdag said. “The United States needs to review its soldiers and elements giving support to terrorists on the ground in a way to avoid a confrontation with Turkey.”

It comes as Turkish operation dubbed ‘Olive Branch’ in the Kurdish-dominated Afrin enters its sixth day. The campaign followed an announcement by the US-led coalition to create a thousands-strong Border Security Force with Kurdish fighters, including from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) at its core.
Ankara insists that the YPG is linked to the PKK. The latter is designated as a terrorist group in Turkey, which has been fighting it for decades.
Bozdag’s statement follows a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump. During the conversation the latter raised concerns that Ankara’s ongoing military operation in Syria, if not scaled down, may result in a direct clash between the two major NATO allies.
Trump “urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces,” according to the White House readout of the conversation. The US leader also called upon Ankara to de-escalate and “limit its military actions” in order to “avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees.”
However, Erdogan announced the extension of the military campaign to the east.
“With the Olive Branch operation, we have once again thwarted the game of those sneaky forces whose interests in the region are different,” Erdogan said. “Starting in Manbij, we will continue to thwart their game.”

Manbij is some 100km from Afrin and is held by US-backed Kurdish militia, raising fears of a direct clash between Ankara and Washington.
Disagreements over the status and future of Syria’s Kurds have strained relations between Ankara and Washington.
The Turkish government has repeatedly slammed Washington for delivering military supplies to Kurds fighting in Syria. In December 2017, Hurriyet Daily News reported that Trump approved arms support to Syrian Kurds, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and mortar weapons, due to be delivered in 2018.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

US-led coalition acknowledges killing 800+ civilians in Iraq & Syria airstrikes

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US-led coalition acknowledges killing 800+ civilians in Iraq & Syria airstrikesFILE PHOTO People run in panic after a coalition airstrike hit Islamic State fighters positions in Tahrir neighbourhood of Mosul, Iraq, November 17, 2016 © Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

At least 800 civilians have been killed by US-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014, a coalition report says. It adds that the group holds itself accountable for “unintentional injury or death to civilians.”

To date, based on information available, [the coalition] assesses at least 801 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve [in 2014],” Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) said in statement on Thursday.

READ MORE: US Raqqa offensive killing more civilians than claimed – airstrike monitor

The coalition said that despite “significant successes” against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), “combat has taken a toll on populations suffering under the militant extremists.”

We continue to hold ourselves accountable for actions that may have caused unintentional injury or death to civilians,” the report said.

CJTF-OIR Monthly Civilian Casualty Reporthttps://t.co/fTBmCIDGEv

— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) November 30, 2017

 

According to the document, US-led forces in Iraq and Syria conducted “a total of 28,198 strikes that included 56,976 separate engagements between August 2014 and October 2017… During this period, the total number of reports of possible civilian casualties was 1,790,” it added.

In June, Amnesty International released a report, criticizing the action of the US coalition in Mosul, Iraq. Dubbed “At any cost: the civilian catastrophe in west Mosul, Iraq,” the document says that, apart from IS attacks, civilians suffer from “relentless unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition.” The report said that at least 5,805 civilians were killed by the US and Iraqi strikes.

In September, Human Rights Watch, which also monitors US coalition actions, said strikes that killed civilians in Syria “instilled fear and pushed many to flee.” “Although ISIS fighters were also at these sites, the high civilian death toll raises concerns that military forces of the US-led coalition failed to take necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties, a requirement under international humanitarian law,” HRW said.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Russia warns US it will strike back if militia attacks in Syria don’t end

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Moscow has warned the US that if militias it supports in northeast Syria again attack positions of pro-government forces backed by Russia, the Russian military will use all its force to retaliate.

The troops of the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish militia that receives support from the US military, have twice attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the Deir ez-Zor governorate with mortar and rocket fire, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

“Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed,” Konashenkov said, adding that the attacks put at risk Russian military advisers embedded with Syrian government troops.

“Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary,” he stressed.

Konashenkov said Moscow suspected the SDF of colluding with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Deir ez-Zor rather than fighting it, as it claims to be. He said Russia had detected the transfer of SDF fighters from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, to join forces with the jihadists.

“SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” the Russian general said.

The statement said that the siege of Raqqa by the SDF has been halted, apparently in response to the latest advances by Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor, which is located to the east from Raqqa along the Euphrates River.

“The central parts of the former ISIL capital, which account for roughly 25 percent of the city, remain under full control of the terrorists,” Konashenkov remarked.

According to the statement, in the last 24 hours Syrian government troops “continued their offensive operation” to destroy the last “IS bridgehead” near the city of Deir ez-Zor, the provincial capital. Troops led by Syrian Army General Suheil al-Hassan liberated around 16 sq km of territory and two settlements on the western bank of the Euphrates River.

“More than 85 percent of Deir ez-Zor’s territory is under the full control of Syrian troops. Over the next week the city will be liberated completely,” Konashenkov said.

The city of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria was besieged by Islamic State in 2014. Syrian government forces lifted the blockade of the city in early September.

However, the liberation of Deir ez-Zor also triggered a confrontation between Syrian government forces and the US-backed SDF militants, the point of contention being control of Deir ez-Zor’s oil fields.

Following Damascus’s strategic victory, food, medicine and other essentials started to reach the city by convoy, where previously the inhabitants had to rely on air-drops.

The escalation of tension in eastern Syria is mirrored in the western Idlib governorate, where militant forces this week attacked Syrian positions in a designated de-escalation zone. The offensive threatened a unit of Russian military police, who were stationed in the area to monitor the ceasefire. Russia mounted an emergency rescue operation on Wednesday, in which three Russian special operations troops were injured. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the militants’ offensive had been instigated by US special services.

From Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Pentagon finally ‘admits’ US jets bombed mosque with civilians in Syria

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The Pentagon has reportedly acknowledged that a US airstrike destroyed a mosque in Syria’s Aleppo province in March, a CNN report says. The US had insisted that it targeted a terrorist meeting and claimed the mosque was intact, despite video evidence.

READ MORE: Aleppo mosque airstrike controversy: ‘US only considers sources credible when it suits them’

An internal investigation carried out by US Central Command (CENTCOM) in the wake of the deadly airstrike on the Al-Jinah Mosque concluded that it was accidentally targeted in what was supposed to be a strike on a meeting of senior Al-Qaeda members, CNN reports, citing two US defense officials.

While photos and videos showed the disastrous aftermath of the strike – which reportedly claimed the lives of over 40 people – emerged almost immediately after the attack on March 16, the US military failed to accept responsibility until now.

The officials told CNN that the building, earlier identified as a partially-built community hall, was in fact part of a “mosque complex.” The probe launched by the Pentagon into the circumstances of the strike – after images of bodies and debris that started circulating on social media challenged their version of events – found that the building had been used as a place of worship in the past.

Another official speaking to CNN said that the building was primarily used as a religious institution.

The sources say that the US command genuinely believed that Al-Qaeda militants were holing up in the building at the time of the attack. It is unknown if the complex had ever been on the list of civilian structures that are banned from attacking.

Following the attack, Colonel John J. Thomas, spokesman for US Central Command, claimed that “We did not target a mosque, but the building that we did target – which was where the meeting took place – is about 50 feet from a mosque that is still standing.”

A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), based on witness accounts, says that the mosque had been used daily and saw dozens of people gathering inside during prayer calls.

“Aerial surveillance of the building would have shown this,” the report said, accusing US forces of failing to double check the facts on the ground before launching what turned out to be an attack on civilians who were flocking to the site for evening prayers.

“The airstrike took place in between the sunset and the evening prayer, at a time when US officials should have known that there would be people gathering in the mosque,” deputy director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division, Lama Fakih, told RT in April.

HRW did not find any evidence that would have backed up the claim that an Al-Qaeda meeting was being held there.

Such negligence in identifying the target “raises the question whether officers were criminally reckless in authorizing the attack,” the report says.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, some news outlets rushed to pin the blame for the reported death of civilians on Moscow or Damascus.

READ MORE: Russia urges US comment on reports of fatal Syria mosque strike

However, after troves of evidence emerged which indicated the culpability of the US – including a photo allegedly showing a fragment of an air-to-surface AGM-114 Hellfire missile from the site – Moscow urged Washington to comment.

“Unlike some of our opponents, we are not going to blame them for ‘intentional killing of civilians and destruction of infrastructure,’” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at the time, adding that she was sure the US warplanes had been aiming at terrorists during the ill-fated sortie.

From RT
Posted by The NON-Conformist

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