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Issue #1749      September 21, 2016

Australia participates in US war crimes

The involvement of RAAF aircraft in the US slaughter of Syrian troops protecting a Syrian airbase from ISIS terrorists stems from Australia’s participation in the whole criminal enterprise of targeting and destroying a sovereign nation to advance US imperial interests in the Middle East.

Australian military aircraft have been carrying out air strikes in Syria, under US direction, for at least a year. As part of the US coalition Australian Special Forces have been training “rebel” forces to undertake “regime change” in Syria, using the ISIS threat as a cover.

It was inevitable that such involvement, criminal in its very nature, would lead to such a “mistake” as the air strikes in Deir al-Zor.

That it was accidental stretches belief – this area has always been held by the Syrian Army, despite a long term siege by jihadi forces for the duration of the war against Syria. For the last two years only two parties have been fighting each other in this part of Syria: the Syrian army and ISIS.

It is not clear why USA is carrying out air strikes in the Deir al-Zor area at all, given there are no forces present that the USA claims to be US allies.

This is also the second time that the USA has “accidentally” struck Syrian troops defending the Deir al-Zor airbase from ISIS mercenaries, this time enabling ISIS to capture a defence line near the base.

The Deir al-Zor incident shows that the US line that it is supporting “moderate” anti-Assad forces while also prosecuting a war against ISIS is a sham. It is now openly backing ISIS against Syrian forces.

Australia is part of a criminal war, part of a predatory coalition willing to use jihadi terrorists, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS, to overthrow a legitimate government. That it has so far not succeeded can only be due to the resilience of the Syrian people and the support they give to their army and government, in defence of their country.

The Australian people must demand:

  • No more support for US wars!
  • USA, Australia – get out of the Middle East!
  • Break the ties with US militarism – close US bases in Australia!

Statement: Hands Off Syria

Hands Off Syria strongly condemns the massacre of 62 Syrian soldiers by Australian Defence Forces. Australia’s military has admitted involvement in the US-led bombing raids in Deir eZorr, Syria, which killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded 100 others. The soldiers were engaged in defending their country from the ISIS terrorist group.

Whether the massacre was “accidental” or deliberate should be determined by an independent war crimes tribunal. Assertion by the perpetrators “Sorry, we didn’t mean it” is completely inadequate. Further, there are many circumstances which suggest the attack was deliberate.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain three things:

  • on what legal basis have any Australian armed forces engaged in bombings on Syrian territory, without an invitation from or coordination with the Syrian government?
  • will the Australian government hand over to the Syrian authorities or the International Court of Justice those Australians who were accomplices in this atrocity?
  • to what extent does the USA share intelligence with Australian Defence Forces, when it asks Australian personnel to become involved in assassinations and bombings?

The Deir eZorr massacre of September 17, 2016 is material for an independent war crimes trial, and these are some of the initial questions Australian officials would have to answer.

The anonymous Defence statement is insulting in its trivialisation of the first major war crime co-authored by Australian forces in Syria.

The Australian Defence Department is reported as saying:

“Australian aircraft were among a number of international aircraft taking part in this Coalition operation … Australia would never intentionally target a known Syrian military unit or actively support Daesh (IS). Defence offers its condolences to the families of any Syrian personnel killed or wounded in this incident … While Syria remains a dynamic and complex operating environment, Australia would never intentionally target a known Syrian military unit or actively support Daesh (also known as ISIL).”

Hands Off Syria September 18, 2016

Next article – India – Largest general strike

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