After an airstrike in Syria earlier this month, US military officials initially claimed to have killed a significant Al-Qaeda figure.
However, evidence provided by the family of the deceased indicates that he was actually an impoverished shepherd and father of 10 children, according to a report by The Washington Post on May 19.
The slain man, identified as Lotfi Hassan Misto, 56, was described by his family members and acquaintances as a kind-hearted and hard-working individual who had lived a life of poverty. He was killed by a US drone strike on May 3, but no evidence or name of the targeted individual was provided at the time.
At the time, local sources confirmed that the victim was a shepherd Lutfi Hassan Masto who was tending to his sheep on the outskirts of Qurqanya town, located north of Idlib. The airstrike also resulted in the loss of several sheep.
US Central Command later retracted its claims after interviews with Misto’s family members.
US officials stated that they were no longer confident about killing a senior Al-Qaeda official and admitted that the airstrike did not hit the intended target, but they still believed the individual to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda. However, the Pentagon has not publicly disclosed the identity of the target, how the mistaken strike occurred, whether the intended target escaped, or why they maintain Misto’s alleged association with Al-Qaeda despite his family’s denials.
Central Command spokesman Michael Lawhorn acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and stated that an investigation would determine if any unintended harm was caused to civilians.
The US military has faced accusations of covering up previous incidents where airstrikes resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians due to flawed intelligence and confirmation bias. This includes a 2021 strike in Afghanistan that was said to target a suicide bomber but killed 10 Afghan civilians, as well as a notorious 2017 airstrike in Mosul that killed 240 civilians sheltering in a residential building during the battle against ISIS.
The case of Lotfi Hassan Misto, a shepherd mistakenly killed in a US drone strike in Syria, highlights the need for accountability and transparency in military actions. The incident raises concerns about flawed intelligence and the potential cover-up of civilian casualties. Accurate identification of targets and thorough investigations are crucial to prevent the loss of innocent lives and maintain public trust in military operations.
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#AlQaeda #LoftiHassanMisto #Syria #DroneStrike #WarOnTerror #casualty #civilians
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