Jake Sullivan said he doesn’t know if we droned an innocent shepherd. That strains credulity.
Syria claims the US didn’t drone an al Qaeda leader earlier this month. The administration bragged about it. Syria claims they killed a shepherd, Loutfi Hassan, with ten children and no connection to terrorism.
Loutfi Hassan was a well-known shepherd. His family told CNN he was grazing his sheep.
The strike carried out on May 3 in northwest Syria targeted a senior al-Qaeda leader, Central Command said in a tweet announcing the operation that day.
They boasted about it and said more details would be forthcoming. Two weeks later, we have no further information, CNN notes.
CENTCOM “has been made aware of allegations that the strike may have resulted in a civilian casualty” and is investigating to see where the strike “may have unintentionally resulted in harm to civilians,” Central Command spokesperson Michael Lawhorn said in a statement, reports CNN.
A Shepherd Was Droned in the Same Area on the Same Day
Relatives of Loutfi Hassan, killed in a lone strike on the same day in the same area, have since come forward with their version of events, saying he was a family man with no links to militancy.
Loutfi Hassan Mesto was herding his sheep in the village of Qurqaniya in Idlib province the morning of Wednesday, May 3, when his brother said he heard blasts and rushed to the site.
“When we went over the mountain, we saw Loutfi dead with six of his sheep,” his older brother Mohammad Mesto told CNN on Friday.
Minutes after receiving the location on their local emergency number, the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said they arrived at the location.
“The team noticed only one crater caused by the missile, which was next to the man’s body,” the Syrian Civil Defense said in a statement to CNN on Friday, also confirming that the man had been grazing his sheep.
“When the team arrived, his wife, neighbors, and other people were at the location,” the group added.
A video provided to CNN by the Syrian Civil Defense showed the time the team arrived on site.
A woman could be heard crying as a young man hugged the man’s body lying motionless on the ground.
Three men pulled the young man away as another covered the body on the ground with a piece of cloth.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 21, 2023