A small, classified American strike cell that launched tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against Daesh targets in Syria, regularly disregarded safeguard procedures to function at the ‘speed of war,’ and obscured the countless number of civilians they wounded and killed with deceptive tactics.
Known as Talon Anvil, the cell worked around the clock in three shifts out of nondescript offices in Syria and Iraq between 2014 and 2019 – but according to a report published by the New York Times, they ‘never existed’ in military records.
Multiple current and former military and intelligence officials told the Times that the group alarmed cooperating military agencies, ‘killing people who had no role in the conflict: farmers trying to harvest, children in the street, families fleeing fighting, and villagers sheltering in buildings.’
Independent investigators and human rights groups have estimated that at least 7,000 civilians were killed by coalition airstrikes.
The New York Times reported that only one Talon Anvil airstrike that resulted in the deaths of civilians is being investigated. Talon Anvil, which was based in Erbil, Iraq and later moved to Syria, was responsible for around 80 percent of the 112,000 bombs and rockets fired at Islamic State targets.
Independent investigators and human rights groups have estimated that at least 7,000 civilians have been killed by coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
However, Pentagon officials have acknowledged that it has been difficult to obtain reliable figures on civilian deaths or to investigate claims that innocent people have been killed in bombings, since most took place in Islamic State-controlled areas.