World Pentagon to review deadly 2019 US bombings in Syria
'I was groomed': Shamima Begum insists she 'didn't hate Britain' when she fled to Syria - and now wants to face trial in UK
Shamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl who fled to Syria and joined IS, has told Sky News she was groomed by friends and older men she met online before joining the terror group. © Sky Shamima Begum rejects accusations that she carried out atrocities as part of IS as 'all completely false' Speaking from a prison camp in Syria, Begum said she wanted to go on trial in the UK and invited British officials to question her in prison. And she said that when she left the UK in 2015 she "didn't hate Britain", but hated her life as she felt "very constricted".
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered a review into United States military bombings in Syria in March 2019 that the New York Times recently reported killed dozens of civilians during the battle for the final stronghold of ISIL (ISIS).
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby announced the probe on Monday, saying it would be led by General Michael Garrett, who commands of US Army Forces Command.
Earlier this month, the US military acknowledged that civilians may have been killed in the bombings in Baghouz, near the Iraqi border in 2019. At the time, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were leading the fight on the ground with American air support.
Four killed in Israel strikes on Syria: war monitor
Two civilians were among four people killed by Israeli strikes on Wednesday that targeted a part of Syria where fighters loyal to Lebanon's Hezbollah are based, a monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that relies on sources on the ground, said the Israeli missiles struck an area near three villages in the west of Homs province. The raid killed four people, including two civilians, said the war monitor, although it was unable to determine whether the other two deaths were civilians or soldiers.
“Likely a majority of those killed were also combatants at the time of the strike. However, it is also highly likely that there were additional civilian casualties,” Bill Urban, a US military spokesman, said in a statement on November 14.
He added that “investigations were unable to conclusively characterize the status of more than 60 other casualties that resulted from these strikes”.
Urban’s statement came a day after the New York Times, citing anonymous sources and classified documents,that accused the US military of concealing the bombings.
Syria eyes visitor bounce back, hopes for return of European tourists
Visitor numbers to Syria are growing again after a collapse caused by a decade of war, the tourism minister said Wednesday, adding he hoped for a return of European tour operators next year. "We are expecting 2022 to be better than previous years," Tourism Minister Mohammed Martini told a press conference in Damascus announcing a 10-year plan to revive the sector. The number of arrivals to Syria so far this year stands at 488,000, in what he said was already an annual increase, although he did not provide last year's figures.He also said that the income generated by state-owned hotels had increased fivefold over the past year.
The newspaper reported that the bombing struck a “crowd of women and children”, killing 64 people.
“Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone’s high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors,” the Times wrote.
On Monday, Kirby said the review would look into “record keeping and reporting procedures” and “whether mitigation measures identified in previous investigations into the incident were in fact implemented effectively”.
The probe, which is due in 90 days, will also assess whether “accountability measures” will be appropriate, Kirby added.
The US-led coalition started a bombing campaign against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in 2014, and the American military maintains troops in both countries with the stated goal of preventing the group’s resurgence.
A new Pentagon team will investigate UFOs reported by soldiers
© US Department of Defense A new Pentagon team will investigate UFOs reported by soldiers the US Department of Defense announced Tuesday 23 November That a new team would study reports on UFOs detected by members of the services. The new working group, the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, will be supervised by both the army and intelligence agencies and resumes the work that has previously incumbent up to a Group Secret .
Former US President Donald Trump touted ISIL’s territorial defeat as a major policy achievement in his failed 2020 re-election bid.
Rights groups previously accused the US-led coalition of killing civilians during their bombing campaign. Aby Amnesty International, for instance, found that the coalition had killed 1,600 civilians in Raqqa, ISIL’s former de-facto capital.
The Associated Press news agency reported on Monday that after the New York Times story was published, Austin received a briefing on the Syria bombings from General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command.
AP reported that McKenzie’s command said “an initial investigation concluded that the strike constituted legitimate self-defence in support of Syrian partner forces under fire from ISIL”.
The probe into the Syria bombings comes after the Pentagon admitted in September that a US drone attack previously described as “righteous” by a top general had killed 10 civilians, including children, in Kabul during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But a subsequent internal review by the Pentagon concluded that the bombing did not violate the laws of war or amount to criminal conduct or negligence, prompting outrage.
Pentagon plans to bulk up bases in Guam and Australia to resist China .
The Pentagon plans to improve its bases in Guam and Australia to counter the growing threat from China, officials said on Monday, after a nine-month review of military resources.But they said that no major changes to the global U.S. military posture were needed and that they would not publish the overall findings.