An airstrike this Tuesday in the small Syrian village of Hassadjek left six civilians dead and injured four more. Though no Russian or Syrian forces were operating in the area, radar data has proven that two Belgian F-16 jets, working on behalf of the US-led coalition, were the only planes operating in the area at the time of the attack.
The village was located in the Aleppo province in Northern Syria, which has been the focus of international scrutiny due to the heavy fighting taking place in the province’s capital Aleppo, once Syria’s most populous city. Western countries allied with the US have accused Russian and Syrian forces of killing civilians in their bombing campaign to drive ISIS and other anti-government rebels from the city. The village attack, however, occurred while the Russian and Syrian air forces were grounded due to a 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Aleppo province. The US and other coalition countries have remained silent about the bombing.
Furthermore, Russia has released evidence gathered from radar data that shows two Belgian jets flew from the Muwaffaq Salti airbase in Jordan and were immediately identified upon entering Syrian airspace, as all aircraft have a unique identifiable signature. The Belgian planes then carried out a night strike in the village, just two hours after take-off. After conducting the bombing, the planes refueled and continued patrolling around the city of Azaz in Northwestern Syria before leaving Syria and entering Iraq.
The “accidental” bombings in both Manbij and Deir el-Zour allowed ISIS to advance in those territories, both of which are critical, strategic areas. This has raised doubts as to whether the US-led coalition is actually fighting ISIS at all. Indeed, before Russia entered the picture, the coalition’s bombing campaign allowed ISIS to triple its territory, though Russian-Syrian cooperation has reversed this trend. Though the US-ISIS relationship remains murky, many experts agree that the coalition is allowing terrorist groups, such as Al-Nusra, in order to back the US’ ultimate goal of destabilizing and overthrowing the government of Bashar Al-Assad.
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