Cover up? Syrian father accuses US of bombing home, killing 6 children

A father in Syria accuses the US-led coalition of killing his six children in an airstrike. The US military however denies hitting any civilian targets in the area, where it claims Islamic State was stationed.

The fatal incident took place on August 11 this year, near the small town of Atmeh in Idlib province, next to the Syrian-Turkish border.

The house, which the father of the children claims was bombed by coalition forces, was completely destroyed.

The US military issued a statement saying that “allegations of civilian casualties by the coalition were unfounded and deemed not credible.”

“The target was an Islamic State staging area,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said, stressing that the strike on the vicinity of Atmeh was successful.

But the father of the dead children, who was not at home when his house was hit, said Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) had not been present in the area for quite a long time.

“My children were killed. The refugee guests I had from Ariha [another small town in Idlib province] were killed. We were all civilians, we don’t have any weapons or anything,” the man told the Middle East Eye, adding that IS had not been present in the area since January 2014.

Altogether nine civilians were killed in that bombing, including a family of three refugees.

Only two of the father's children survived the blast.

His five-year-old son was found seriously injured, as people searching for survivors in the rubble pulled him from the debris. Now the boy is recovering, while another survivor, a two-year-old daughter, suffered an injury in the back of her head that left her disabled.

The medics have been unable to help the girl, who is now blind and deaf, and perceives nothing.

“She will be like this for the rest of her life,” the man said.

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Simon Hooper, an award-winning freelance journalist, writer and editor, has investigated the incident and spoke with the father of the dead children.

He says despite the denials of the US military, there's enough evidence of their guilt.

“The Syrian Network for Human Rights told me that the US Central Command has not been in touch with them. And it does not seem that they talked to anybody on the ground about this incident,” Hooper told RT, adding that the US military fully relies on its intelligence, while photos of the incident are disappearing from the internet.

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“I think it raises questions about the rigor with which the US military are investigating allegations of civilian casualties,” Hooper said.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights looking specifically at this incident, said that “International coalition countries should acknowledge the shelling incidents that killed innocent civilians” and conduct a serious investigation.

Simon Hooper says the US military seems unwilling to do this.