US nearly wiped out tens of thousands of civilians with dam strike in Syria – NYT — Analysis

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

According to the New York Times, in 2017, America bombed part of Syria’s strategic infrastructure, Tabqa Dam, on the Euphrates River.

The target was hit by some of the most powerful weapons in US Air Force’s arsenal, including at least one BLU109 bunker buster. This bomber is used to demolish concrete fortified targets. This bomb pierced through five stories in one of the dam’s towers, but didn’t explode.

The Soviet-designed earth and concrete structure would have likely caused the death of tens to thousands of residents living below.

The dam wasn’t immediately destroyed, but damage to its equipment rendered it inoperational and at risk of overflowing. An unprecedented truce involving the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), US-backed forces on the ground, and Syrian government forces was hastlily struck with Russia’s help to allow a crane controlling emergency floodgates to be repaired.

US shadow unit’s deadly ‘self-defense’ strikes in Syria revealed – media

The 16-strong crew completed their work and then a drone strike, ordered by the exact same taskforce who called for the original strike, destroyed the van transporting some of them. The strike killed an engineer and technician from the mechanical engineering department, as well as a worker for Syrian Red Crescent.

Times used interviews with US military personnel and Syrian civilians to report the events. It is the newspaper’s latest expose of Talon Anvil operations, which critics call reckless. According to earlier reporting, this taskforce was set up to coordinate the war against IS. The commandos of US Army Delta Force manned it.

Russia and Syria had claimed the attack on Tabqa Dam, March 26, 2016, to US forces. However, then-Lt. General Stephen J. Townsend who oversees the operation of the taskforce, dismissed this as untrue. “a lot 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 non-cratering munitions to avoid unnecessary damage to the facility,”He assured journalists.

Tabqa Dam will not be saved by the coalition if something goes wrong.

Times sources say that Talon Anvil regularly used a tactic to avoid the airstrike screening process by senior commander, inciting the need to protect US allied forces against an imminent attack. Witnesses said that no fighting was occurring in the vicinity before the bombs struck.

US Central Command confirmed that three of the 2,000-pound bombs were dropped, but stated they were targeting towers and not dams. And that the fact it didn’t fail proved the safety of the operation, a spokesman for the military suggested. He said that strikes were authorized according to the normal procedures.

The Times said a report requested from specialized engineers in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Resources and Infrastructure office prior to the strikes recommended against using any sort of explosives in the vicinity of the dam. According to the paper, even small bombs like Hellfire missiles can cause damage to concrete structures that control the flow of water.

Talon Anvil did not report the dam strike. A source informed the Times that the US military was forced to piece together the events by looking at logs of the B-52 Bomber. The newspaper said that no disciplinary actions were taken against the members of the secret unit.

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