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US nearly wipes out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT – RT World News

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US nearly wipes out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT – RT World News

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The military later dismissed reports of the bombing as “crazy” and preemptively blamed ISIS.

In 2017, the United States bombed strategic infrastructure in Syria, the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates, despite being on a no-strike list, The New York Times reported.

A B-52 bomber dropped some of the heaviest weapons in the Air Force arsenal on the target, including at least one BLU-109 bunker buster, designed to destroy fortified concrete targets. This bomb pierced five floors in one of the dam’s towers, but did not explode.

Had the Soviet-designed earth and concrete structure failed, tens of thousands of people living in a valley below would likely have died.

The dam was not immediately destroyed, but the damage to its equipment rendered it inoperative and was in danger of overflowing. An unprecedented truce involving the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, US-backed forces on the ground and Syrian government forces was hastily reached with Russian help to enable redress a crane controlling the emergency valves.

US nearly wipes out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT – RT World News

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After the work was done by a team of 16 workers, a drone strike ordered by the same task force that had called for the initial strike wiped out a van carrying some of them. He killed a mechanical engineer, a technician and a Syrian Red Crescent worker.

The events were described by The Times based on interviews with unnamed US military officials as well as people in Syria, including an engineer who was present at the dam on the day of the strike. It’s the paper’s latest expose of Talon Anvil’s operations, which critics call reckless. The task force was created to coordinate the war effort against ISIS and was made up of US Army Delta Force commandos, according to previous reports.

The March 26 strike on the Tabqa Dam was attributed to US forces by Russia and Syria, but then Lt. General Stephen J. Townsend, under whose responsibility the task force operated, dismissed it as “lots of crazy reporting.”

“The Tabqa Dam is not a coalition target and when strikes occur on military targets, at or near the dam, we use crater-free ammunition to avoid unnecessary damage to the facility,” he assured reporters.

If anything happens at the Tabqa Dam, it will be in the hands of ISIS, not the coalition.

According to Times sources, Talon Anvil routinely used a trick to circumvent the airstrike verification process by higher command, citing the urgency of defending US allied forces from imminent attack. The strike on the dam was also justified in this way, but witnesses said no major fighting took place in the area before the bombs hit.

US Central Command admitted dropping three 2,000-pound bombs, but said they were targeting towers, not the dam itself. And that the fact that it did not fail proved the safety of the operation, suggested an army spokesman. He denied that the usual procedures had been circumvented by authorizing the strikes.

The Times said a report requested from specialist engineers at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Office of Defense Resources and Infrastructure before the strikes recommended against using any type of explosives near the dam. Even relatively small ordnance like Hellfire missiles could damage concrete structures controlling water flow, according to the four-page assessment, according to the newspaper.

Talon Anvil had not reported the dam strikes. The US military had to piece together what happened by reviewing the B-52 bomber’s logbooks, a source told The Times. No disciplinary action was taken against members of the secret unit, the newspaper reported.

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US nearly wipes out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT – RT World News

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